Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 2256 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):
is a quick fix for problems that must be addressed forthrightly. The sick and the dying can and should be able to lead fulfilling lives. There are many carers and hospices putting this philosophy into practice. It is for this Assembly and parliaments around Australia to improve on the achievements already made and to continue to give support and palliative care to those who need it for as long as they need it.
MR WOOD (11.16): Mr Speaker, I will not support Mr Moore's Bill. As an ordinary citizen, it sometimes seems to me, as it does to others, an acceptable proposition that my life could be deliberately closed if I chose to order so. This could be in circumstances where I had lost my identity, where I had ceased to be the person I had always been. I am troubled by the thought that I could lose the identity that has characterised my life. It is also a great concern that I could become an enormous burden on those I love. But I reject the solution of euthanasia, for a number of reasons. I will always remain unique, special, no matter what the circumstances. And life cannot so easily be cast away. The sanctity of life is so important, and this citizen cannot agree to any proposal that a person could be appointed to act as a terminator. No-one should be asked, or begged, to carry out that role.
But there is a further dominating factor in making the decision that I have made. Even if the proposition were acceptable to me as an ordinary citizen, I could in no circumstances accept it as a legislator. No government, no parliament, can sanction the premature termination of life. That is destructive and dehumanising, and it is no path for governments or legislators to follow. It opens the frontier between life and death to a multitude of awesome possibilities. Governments must act vigorously, absolutely, and with great determination to enhance life, to protect life, to respect and to revere life. It is important, therefore, that the ACT Legislative Assembly reject this Bill.
MR KAINE (11.18): Mr Speaker, I will not support this Bill. The debate on this issue in the ACT has been going on for quite some time, and I do not think any of us in this place have taken the debate lightly. For my part, I have tried to remove emotion from it, to look at it in a dispassionate way and come to a conclusion not based on an emotional response. I have done some considerable research into the matter, because this is not an issue that is being debated in the ACT in isolation; it is an issue that has been raised in some very significant places in the world. In the last two years there have been major investigations into this matter in the House of Lords, in the Canadian Senate, and in New York State in the United States. I remind people that the city of New York alone has more citizens than the whole of Australia, so we are not talking about an insignificant community when we talk about the State of New York. In all three cases the concept of active euthanasia has been rejected.
These investigations have not been done by lightweights; they have been done by people of some consequence, learned people. Yet they have reached a conclusion contrary to what some people in this Assembly would seek to put into place today. I have some documents that I will quote from. The first is from a study done on euthanasia in Holland. It is a little dated - it was done in 1992 - but it was done by Brian Pollard, a Fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthetists in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. His conclusion and much that he says are things we in this Assembly today need to think about carefully. In his conclusion he says: