Thursday, July 5, 2012

Speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand – Part 2

On day 1 of the speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand I had the opportunity to speak at the Life Dinner in Melbourne where more than 400 people were in attendance.

On Sunday, June 24, I flew to Adelaide South Australia where I was met by Paul Russell, the leader of HOPE, the group that has successfully defeated attempts to legalize euthanasia in South Australia and is now helping to build a coalition in New Zealand while making plans to defeat the upcoming euthanasia bills in South Australia and Tasmania. 

Paul Russell, Alex Schadenberg
Leesa Vhalos, Dr. Bob Britton-Jones
I stayed for several  days in South Australia, speaking to a dinner with local leaders, a lunch with business and organizational leaders, a breakfast meeting with groups and individuals who oppose euthanasia including Dr. Bob Britton-Jones, who is building a group called Doctors Against Euthanasia.

On Tuesday, June 26, Nick McKim (leader of the Greens) and Lara Giddings (the premier of Tasmania - Labor) announced their intention of introducing a private members bill to legalize euthanasia in Tasmania. HOPE and EPC announced a media conference on Thursday at noon on the steps of the Tasmanian legislature, to coincide with my presentation to the members of the Tasmanian legislature the same day. 

Leesa Vhalos with Alex
On Wednesday June 27 Leesa Vhalos, a Labor Party member of the South Australian legislature, sponsored my presentation to the South Australian legislature. There were several important opportunities related to my speech to the South Australian legislature. First: There have been 5 attempts to legalize euthanasia in South Australia in the past few years and 9 attempts since 2002. Second: Philip Nitschke, Australia’s Dr. Death, recently moved to South Australia with the intention of opening a euthanasia clinic. Third, Steph Key (Labor), who announced her intention to introduce another bill, this year, to legalize euthanasia, attended the presentation.

After returning to Canada, Leesa Vhalos sent me an email informing me of the positive results from my presentation.

Paul Russell with Alex
On Thursday morning, Paul Russell, from HOPE, and I had a fabulous breakfast meeting with the leaders of a new group called Realdignitytas. I spoke at the breakfast meeting about the importance of coalition building.

We then met with members of the Tasmanian media, on the steps of the Tasmanian legislature at noon.

From there I spoke to the members of the Tasmanian legislature, who were very interested in all of my comments and asked many questions. Thank you to Senator Michael Polley for sponsoring this event.

After leaving the presentation I learned that Philip Nitschke had sent out a media release stating his intention to open a euthanasia clinic in Hobart Tasmania, that would include a mobile euthanasia clinic, if Tasmania legalized euthanasia.  It is interesting that one of the comments that I made to the members of the legislature is – if you legalize euthanasia, Nitschke will open a clinic.

That evening I had the opportunity to speak to a group of locals about euthanasia, urging them to oppose euthanasia. One of the leaders of the local euthanasia lobby group attended the talk.

The next morning I flew to New Zealand (part 3) leaving behind several newspaper articles, television interviews and hopefully a long-term impact on the members of the Tasmanian legislature.

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