The passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 tells Western Australians that a vote for Labor is a vote for the tragic suicide of vulnerable dying patients, according to FamilyVoice WA Director Darryl Budge.
“Kevin Rudd’s warning that ‘complex bioethical questions’ were being ‘glossed over in a rush’ (The Australian, 6/12/2019) tells us that he knows the party’s embrace of euthanasia has the potential to do electoral damage to Labor,” said Darryl Budge.
“All compassionate voters would agree with Kevin Rudd that ‘Nothing is more fundamental than life’.
“The WA government will fund a large specialist team to supply on-demand suicide of dying patients in regional areas, but has refused to fund one on-demand palliative care specialist or nurse to go anywhere in WA.
“Regional, dying patients will have a Hobson’s choice between suicide experts and non-specialist life-giving care.”
The legislation now enters an 18-month implementation phase in which administration details and conflicts with federal law will be resolved. The type of lethal poison will be determined in that phase.
“We put on record our concern that eventually abuses of this legislation will occur, and we highlight the view of English neurosurgeon Henry Marsh who said, ‘Even if a few grannies get bullied into it, isn’t that the price worth paying for all the people who could die with dignity?’
“FamilyVoice worked alongside with many pro-life Legislative Councillors, include Nick Goiran, and we thank them for their efforts lessen the number of possible wrongful deaths by this bill. However, one can only mend something so much before it is exposed as irretrievably broken, as this ill-considered legislation will be.”
Those who voted against the bill were:
Liberals - Nick Goiran (South Metro Region), Ken Baston (Mining and Pastoral), Michael Mischin (North Metro), Donna Faragher (East Metro), Simon O'Brien (South Metro), Peter Collier (North Metro), Steve Thomas (South West)
Independent - Charles Smith (East Metro)
Shooters, Fishers Farmers - Rick Mazza (Agricultural)
Labor - Adele Farina (South West)
One Nation - Colin Tincknell (South West)
FamilyVoice supporters are invited to write to the no-voting MPs to express your thanks for their defence of life.
In total, MPs passed 55 amendments (including 25 from Nick Goiran MLC, and 12 from Labor, as per attachment) to the Premier’s self-proclaimed “safe” Bill. Some of these amendments included:
- Neither of the two doctors authorising euthanasia can be a family member of the patient or a beneficiary under the patient’s will;
- Doctors must show reasonable care and skill, not merely ‘act in good faith’;
- Patients in the process must be informed about the palliative care and treatment options available to the person;
- Only doctors and nurses can suggest euthanasia and assisted suicide, down from 16 occupations including health care workers, podiatrists and Chinese medicine practitioners.
Mr Budge said that the bill still has manifestly unsafe provisions, and that it is less safe than both the Victorian legislation and the inoperative NT legislation, citing the following points:
- A patient can self-administer the poison without any supervision;
- Doctors are compelled to falsify the death certificate, which must not list euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide as cause of death (a vote to change this clause was narrowly lost 17-18);
- Medical staff who conscientiously object will be forced to provide information on how to access the scheme;
- There is no requirement to store the lethal substance securely;
- Doctors are not prohibited from steering patients towards suicide, even when other palliative care options are available. They can legally raise the possibility of euthanasia but not “influence” the patient. The trust of ‘medical experts’ by patients was not considered.
The FamilyVoice WA Director expressed disappointed that MPs were unduly pressured to bring forward the final vote in the upper house, because, he said, “This effectively denied proper consideration for the promised conscience vote.”
“We will enter a different kind of campaign next year, as details emerge during the 18-month implementation phase,” Mr Budge said.
“Next year we also face a WA government review of equal opportunity laws for schools and exclusion-zone proposals that will stifle free speech and deny help to fearful women. Stay tuned!
“Though we have lost this fight for now, FamilyVoice and all Christians will continue to provide comfort and peace to a lonely and hurt world that needs His love, wisdom and justice.”