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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 1995) . . Page.. 1527 ..


Although I understand the intricacies of pressure being placed on parliamentarians over this issue, I am sure that everyone in the chamber wished, in fact, that I had not even brought it up. But as Marshall Perron said recently at the Australian Nursing Federation conference in Victoria:

The reason politicians would rather not take a stand on the issue is that although very much a minority group, many opponents to euthanasia feel so intensely about the subject that you’d rather not have them as enemies. The hierarchy of the churches are not people politicians - - -

Mr Kaine: Not half as intensely as the proponents.

MR MOORE: Mr Kaine, I am quoting from a Liberal member of parliament, Marshall Perron. I continue:

The hierarchy of the churches are not people politicians want working against them, and the AMA (although only representing a little over half of all doctors) is officially opposed to voluntary euthanasia. Your own doctor might be opposed and that would be worse than offending your bank manager.

However, change is inevitable, if we don’t move to pick up this debate and respond to it properly, then the community will increasingly demand that we do.

The sanctity of life arguments, so often used by the church, may be grounds for an individual rejecting the option to request euthanasia. However, these arguments are not grounds for denying institutionalised euthanasia to those who want it. If respecting the wishes of those who do not want to request euthanasia is the right thing to do, then, by exactly the same reasoning, respecting the wishes of those who do want to request euthanasia is also the right thing to do.

I can conclude in no better way than with the words of Sir Mark Oliphant, when he addressed an audience on this issue in Canberra in 1990. Sir Mark Oliphant, at that stage, I believe, was in his eighty-ninth year. I quote:

Those who are incurably ill; those who suffer unremitting, intolerable pain; those who realise that they are losing their memory and their ability to look after themselves; those who have lost control of their bodily functions through disease or accident; and many others who hate to be a burden on others, may seek death as an end to their miseries. The law allows them to purchase a gun with which to end it all. It permits the sale, often without prescription, of drugs which, taken in excess, will bring an end to life. Suicide by drowning, hanging, jumping off a high place, cutting one's own wrists or otherwise bleeding to death, inhaling carbon monoxide in the exhaust of a car engine,


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