"...I do not think it is an exaggeration to say we are in times of terror for our country...I have worked doing locums in Alice and Darwin and going to remote Aboriginal communities with the Palliative Care Service Top End. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, if legislation goes through in the Territory, (probable domino effect from Victoria), people will understandably be more afraid than ever of accessing what they call ‘white fella medicine’, especially Palliative Care. And so many are dying so young."
Dr Helen-Anne Manion OAM, MB BS, D.Pall.Med.(UWCM), FFAChPM Palliative Care Physician and Director Co-founder DYING AT HOME PROGRAM
"I ask those promoting this bill to be truly frank and honest in their descriptions, and for those listening to the debate today, if or when you hear those euphemisms, you need to remind yourself that the real words, however distasteful they are, are mercy killing and assisted suicide by a doctor……........ Such a bill lacks adequate safeguards.....……A prime responsibility of a parliament is to pass laws that are for the good of the common people. When considered from a social perspective the parliament creates laws to protect the vulnerable people in our society. I wish a parliament could end suffering for anyone, for everyone, by passing a law. That is a fantasy, an impossible and false hope, albeit a compassionate aspiration, but a totally tragic building of false hope…..
Mr Michael Ferguson, Tasmanian Health Minister, 23rd May 2017
In every state in Australia, the rate of suicide among those who live outside the greater capital cities is higher than that for residents that live within them, and the rate has risen much higher in rural areas over the period 2011-2015..........If we are to reduce rural suicides in the long term, we need to work out how to address the social determinants of health, using strategies based on knowledge about these determinants as they apply to individual rural locations. .........If we are to reduce rural suicidesright now we need to start reducing the gap in access to and use of evidence-based medical and psychological treatments for those who are experiencing mental distress.
Centre for Rural and Remote Health NSW Suicide and Suicde Prevention in Rural Areas of Australia
"Euthanasia creep or scope creep occurs when legalisation of assisted dying for a very limited group of people in very limited circumstances is expanded to include more people in more situations...............There will strident calls for liberalization of whatever guidelines are put forward before the ink has dried on the present proposal............Once the barrier of legislation is passed, medically assisted dying takes on a dynamic of its own and extends beyond the original intent, despite earlier explicit assurances that this would not happen."
Dr Roger Woodruff Oncologist/Palliative Medicine Physician, Clinical Head, Lecturer Board Member IAHPC
Mission-Creep- "Dutch journalist Gerbert van Loenen shows in his book Do You Call This a Life? Blurred Boundaries in the Netherlands’ Right-to-Die Laws that, although euthanasia activism begins with the wish to help suffering people of sound mind to achieve control in ending their torment, it never stops there. In both the Netherlands and neighbouring Belgium, once the barrier of legislation is passed, medically assisted dying takes on a dynamic of its own and extends beyond the original intent, despite earlier explicit assurances that this would not happen. As a disillusioned former member of a Dutch regional euthanasia review board has said: “Don’t go there!”
Prof Robert TwycrossEmeritus Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine, Oxford University
"It is very difficult to see how there could be sufficient safeguards to actually protect vulnerable people in New Zealand. And that's been the experience overseas as well........It probably comes down to the simple question of 'how many errors would Parliament be willing to accept in this space'?"
Simon O'Connor, Chairman of New Zealand's recent parliamentary commission into euthanasia
When some suicides are promoted in media, law, and popular culture as a social good—as assisted suicides are—this can have an unintended effect on suicidal people who do not qualify for “assistance” under the law..........“The law is a teacher, and American law increasingly teaches indifference to life when it runs up against respect for radical autonomy. California and Colorado recently joined four other states in permitting doctors to assist terminally ill patients to take their own lives. In the same week that Gov. Brown signed the California bill, two British scholars published a study showing that laws permitting assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington have led to a rise in overall suicide rates in those states.”
Dr Aaron Kheriaty, University of California, Irvine Medical Centre
The reality is that euthanasia and assisted suicide are only legal in a handful of countries and states. There is no significant grassroots movement supporting change..........“Momentum is finally shifting against the legalisation and expansion of assisted suicide. Twenty-three states have rejected bills attempting to legalise assisted suicide since the beginning of 2017, and these bills are now considered dead for the remainder of the year...............And there are four additional states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan – that are unlikely to act on similar measures this fall. Another indication that momentum is shifting in opposition to the expansion of this practice is states like Alabama and Ohio recently enacted laws to strengthen prohibition of assisted suicide. And a congressional committee passed an amendment to their appropriations bill to repeal the new DC law legalising assisted suicide.”
"[In Canada,] euthanasia has become normalised with astonishing rapidity — in one year — causing calls for access to it to be expanded; indeed, to have no restrictions at all."
Prof Margot Somerville, Professor of Medical Ethics and Law, Author ( Herald Sun, July 4 2017 )
"My euthanasia views have evolved and were dramatically re-shaped by my work as chief of staff to the federal aged care minister from 2007 to 2009.I saw first-hand the experiences of those in our nation's nursing homes and how it was almost impossible – despite the best intentions – to protect the most vulnerable from manipulation and exploitation.....I believe parliamentarians cannot codify legislation on how to end a human life. It is not possible to put in place sufficient safeguards and protections to prevent abuses of these laws........... And this is before we consider the invidious pressures of medical costs, financial burdens on families or the prospect of manipulation in regard to inheritances. So, my concerns come from a legislative and practical perspective; not a religious one.Rather than euthanasia laws, the Berejiklian government should do more in palliative care to alleviate pain and suffering – particularly in Indigenous and rural communities."
Walt Secord, NSW Shadow Health Minister for Health and Deputy Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council. ( SMH Sept 4. 2017)
"A reading of the 1037 submissions to the Victorian parliamentary committee shows that many scenarios of poor controlled pain occurred in the past (before palliative care was available) but should not be the case in 2017, now that modern palliative care is available – if people will use it. Good pain control measures are now possible if used properly.
The Palliative Care Victoria submission to the inquiry states: In most cases, specialist palliative care teams are able to address the person’s physical pain and other symptoms and to respond to their psycho-social, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs so that they are able to live and die well with dignity. However, a small minority of patients experience refractory symptoms such as agitated delirium, difficulties breathing, pain and convulsions ... Prudent application of palliative sedation therapy may be used in the care of selected palliative care patients with otherwise refractory distress.
A problem we do have is that palliative care skills are not widely disseminated among the average doctor and nurse, and there are not enough specialist palliative care teams. Arguably that is where change is needed – more specialist teams, and better education of graduates in the relevant skills and knowledge."
Dr John Buchanan, Former Chair of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2013 Recipient of the RANZCP Medal of Honour
"The justifications offered by the bill's advocates – that the legal conditions are stringent or that the regime being authorised will be conservative – miss the point entirely. What matters is the core intention of the law. What matters is the ethical threshold being crossed. What matters is that under Victorian law there will be people whose lives we honour and those we believe are better off dead. In both practical and moral terms, it is misleading to think allowing people to terminate their life is without consequence for the entire society. Too much of the Victorian debate has been about the details and conditions under which people can be terminated and too little about the golden principles that would be abandoned by our legislature... An alarming aspect of the debate is the claim that safeguards can be provided at every step to protect the vulnerable. This claim exposes the bald utopianism of the project – the advocates support a bill to authorise termination of life in the name of compassion, while at the same time claiming they can guarantee protection of the vulnerable, the depressed and the poor... Opposition to this bill is not about religion. It is about the civilisational ethic that should be at the heart of our secular society. The concerns I express are shared by people of any religion or no religion. In public life it is the principles that matter. They define the norms and values of a society and in this case the principles concern our view of human life itself. It is a mistake for legislators to act on the deeply held emotional concerns of many when that involves crossing a threshold that will affect the entire society in perpetuity."
Paul Keating, Former Prime Minister of Australia, following theVictorian Parliamentary Debate, October 18, 2017
"We have all experienced loss. Many of us have suffered the tragedy of watching a parent, child or spouse die. This grief never leaves people. It informs their opinions. However, highly emotional stories of the grief felt subsequent to watching a loved one die do not constitute an intellectual argument in favour of EPAS. ... Euthanasia and assisted suicide are at odds with modern and ancient codes of medical ethics. Every life is precious: the 10-year-old boy in Roebourne with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and severe autism, the 36-year-old veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, the 68-year-old woman in Morwell with metastatic cancer and no children to be with her as she dies.”
Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association
In my professional career, both individually and as part of specific ward teams, I observed often that the positive outcomes of our clinical interventions was a product of our commitment to work together. This key element,in relation to patients suffering from chronic acute pain and questioning end of life choices, addressed a new cli nical intervention: presence. "Taking time' to be with each person entrusted to us, as Health Professionals, in order to respond without rush to their physical, social and spiritual needs in times of vulnerability, proved to be essential for the good of the patient and of their family as well. Medical and clinical assistance and advise, support, counselling, consultation,follow-up encounters empowered patients to make choices, one moment at a time, and to own their human dignity that illness and other circumstances have taken away from them. Patients felt their deepest inner needs validated along the way, in their search for clarity and peace of mind.
Ms Aida Barbosa, Retired Health Care Worker St John of God, Frankston