Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 2271 ..
MS HORODNY (continuing):
I end by recalling the very real recent situation of a man who was a tormented and violent and fearful person all his adult life. After a dreadful accident that left him a quadriplegic but mentally intact, he found for the first time in 30 years a peace within himself and a closeness to his God. A restless man in life, now his body was forever still. He asked for forgiveness from his family and friends for all his violence and anger and displayed no fear of death, when he had always had a desperate fear of life. Although he may have lived on for some months, he asked his doctor to turn off his machine so that he could die, now that he had made peace with himself, his family, his friends and his God. He was ready and indeed happy to die. The lesson for me here is that we all come to make our peace in our own time.
MR HIRD (12.18): Mr Speaker, my Christian beliefs and my understanding that life is precious tell me that I will not and could not in all conscience support Mr Moore's legislation. That will not be a surprise to Mr Moore or anyone who knows me. However, I do respect the right of Mr Moore and other members to bring forward their arguments and to let this place, which is the proper place, make a determination on the proposal. The community I represent would know my belief that the family unit is based on life itself, the circle of life from birth to death. To remove that under legislative arrangements would be abhorrent.
The sanctity of life is preserved not only by each member of our community but also by the medical profession - the nurses, the doctors. They take an oath to preserve life, to hold it sacred, to make life comfortable. As has been said by a number of my colleagues, there is a way of looking after those people who are suffering. There is a way to protect them. Indeed, we as a community have a responsibility to care for those who are most vulnerable - the disabled, the sick and the frail, those who are least able to resist suggestions to hold onto life. As has been said, if the Dutch experience is any indication, there is growing anecdotal evidence that active euthanasia has moved from an option to a preference to an obligation to those who feel that they are a burden within our community.
The Labor Party, and I respect them as political opponents, has a policy with which I agree; that is, they are opposed to capital punishment. Yet, for some strange reason, they now want to terminate life. It is interesting to hear the way they have built that philosophy. As I said to Mr Berry some time ago, had it been 20 years down the track and Mr Berry had asked me, I would have given serious consideration to supporting this Bill. The circle of life is a marvel to me and to all of us. We see a baby come into the world and we see our loved ones leave it. In a tree outside my window there are three baby currawongs nesting with their parents. It is a beautiful experience. The thin end of the wedge is euthanasia. Do we then have involuntary euthanasia? Do we go further and further? Do we terminate life because someone is a nuisance? Do we go back to capital punishment, like heathens? Or have we learnt the lesson that He who gave us life, the Maker, takes our life?
I dare say that members on this side of the chamber received not just one or two but hundreds of letters from their own electorates. I would like to read extracts from two letters I have received. The first letter reads: