Thursday, June 28, 2012

Euthanasia debate heating up in Tasmania

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tasmanian Parliament
On June 28, I was in Hobart Tasmania meeting with members of the Tasmania state parliament concerning the announcement earlier in the week that the Labor/Greens coalition government will once again be debating the legalization of euthanasia in Tasmania.

In response to the announced euthanasia debate, Paul Russell - HOPE Australia, and I called a media conference on the steps of parliament at noon to offer the media another point of view.

After the meeting with the members of the Tasmanian parliament we received a text concerning a media release sent out by Philip Nitschke, the founder of EXIT International, explaining his intention to open a euthanasia clinic with mobile euthanasia teams, if Tasmania legalizes euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg with
Paul Russell in Tasmania
The Tasmanian Examiner reported on the issue with this article entitled: Mobile Euthanasia unit 'ready for law change.' that stated:
Dr Philip Nitschke yesterday announced plans for a mobile euthanasia clinic for Tasmania, while opponents of euthanasia were in Hobart to meet state politicians. 
Premier Lara Giddings and Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim are developing a private members' bill to legalise euthanasia, with a discussion paper expected in the next few weeks. 
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition executive director, Canadian Alex Schadenberg, was in Hobart to meet Legislative Councillors and some MHAs to lobby against legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide. 
He said studies undertaken in Belgium where euthanasia was legal showed the law, while it was clear, was not being followed. 
He said a study published in 2010 of euthanasia deaths in Flanders found that 32 per cent of those deaths were done without request or consent. 
"You cannot actually assume that everybody will be protected,'' Mr Schadenberg said. 
"What you're actually doing in law . . . you have to create an exception under certain circumstances for murder.'' 
Mr Schadenberg said a euthanasia bill was defeated in the Canadian Parliament in 2010 but the debate led to a parliamentary committee looking at ways palliative care could be improved. 
Meanwhile, Exit International director Dr Nitschke made public plans for a Tasmanian mobile medically assisted suicide clinic, modelled on the Dutch version. 
He said the clinic model would be "readied for operation to coincide with the expected law change in Tasmania''. 
The euthanasia issue is heating up in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Parliament has debated euthanasia on several occasions and over the years it has had two inquiries into the feasibility of legalizing euthanasia with both enquiries deciding against legalization.

While in Tasmania, the big issue that the people shared with me was the crisis in healthcare that was occurring on the Island.

The Tasmanian people were very concerned that the Greens and Labor leaders are pushing euthanasia again to achieve cost savings in healthcare. Whether this is true or not, it should be noted that when the pressure to cut the cost of healthcare is mixed with euthanasia, that the pressure to die will soon outweigh the will to live.

1 comment:

John said...

Thank you Alex for a great presentation in Hobart.
In Australia, the Australian Labor Party uses a different spelling for the word Labor (not Labour - as in other nations.