AUSTRALIA might be experiencing vaccine hesitancy but when it comes to giving people lethal jabs, our politicians are in a rush.
Despite going to great lengths to save the lives of the elderly and vulnerable during the pandemic, New South Wales MP Alex Greenwich plans this month to unveil his bill to end the lives of the elderly and vulnerable.
He wants to introduce it into Parliament in September, following in the footsteps of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland.
So-called Voluntary Assisted Dying turns lethal poison into “medication” and doctors into suicide assistants.
It changes the game of health care and is something very few countries have adopted.
If overseas experience is anything to go by, there will most likely be more wrongful euthanasia deaths - because of family coercion, elder abuse, expediency etc – than will ever die in NSW from the coronavirus.
Advocates don’t even pretend anymore that this is a measure to assist terminally ill people suffering from intractable pain.
That’s how it has been sold to the public for decades.
But these days modern palliative care addresses suffering and pain for the overwhelming majority of people - remember, we still haven't totally solved the issue of pain in child birth.
So advocates have broadened the parameters.
Mentally ill? You qualify. Disabled? Tick. Tired of living? Yep, you can get the jab.
Here’s what The Australian recently reported about the Queensland draft bill.
“Those with a disability or mental illness can apply for VAD under a draft bill framed by the Queensland Law Reform Commission.”
Chilling stuff, especially for those running suicide prevention programs in a country where suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44.
Advocates say there is no slippery slope while at the same time applying the grease.
Victoria was the first state to legalise euthanasia in 2017 with the law coming into effect in 2019.
Since then, a staggering 224 people have been euthanised. It is not possible that modern palliative care was not an alternative for the overwhelming majority but euthanasia is cheaper.
Victoria's law comes after the Northern Territory’s misnamed Rights of the Terminally Ill (ROTI) Act was briefly in force in the mid 1990s.
I say misnamed because Dr Philip Nitschke, a key backer of Greenwich, killed people who were not terminally ill and got away with it. I kid you not.
You can read the footnoted chapter “Death Wish” in my book, I Kid You Not – Notes from 20 Years in the Trenches of the Culture Wars.
The ROTI Act was overturned with bi-partisan support by the federal parliament after Kevin Andrews introduced a private members bill.
Today’s legislation has dropped the “terminally ill” requirement. While claiming “safeguards”, they are essentially suicide-on-demand bills.
Today’s Australian reports on a 91-year-old who wants euthanasia because she is “tired” of life.
Among those who plan to explore their options under the new system is Joanna, a 90-year-old great grandmother.
Joanna, who did not want to give her full name, suffers from cardiomyopathy, ischaemic heart disease, blood pressure problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and macular degeneration in both eyes. Originally from Holland, Joanna’s own father took advantage of one of the world’s first legal euthanasia systems to end his life there 30 years ago.
Joanna, whose husband died five years ago, suffered heart failure earlier this year but “unfortunately” recovered.
“I feel I have lived long enough. I would rather go when I am still compos mentis than when I am a bit of a vegie on a trolley. I’m tired. I’m tired of being anxious, of having to fill in time each day. My life has lost purpose. I’ve got my loving family, but it’s just that sense that ‘enough is enough’.”
How tragic that anyone’s life loses purpose. Suicide should never be the answer to that problem, not matter our age.
Euthanasia is not about intractable pain or a terminal illness anymore (palliative care can take care of that), its simply about whether someone has “had enough”.
This lovely lad doesn’t need a lethal jab, she needs comprehensive end of life health care.
And that’s before we even begin to talk about palliative care which is all about pain relief and dying with dignity.
In Queensland where a euthanasia bill is being debated, Palliative Care Queensland has recommended $275 million per year in extra funding or $53 per Queenslander.
Chances are the Palaszczuk government, with the help of several LNP MPs, will opt for cheap lethal jabs and short-change the money needed so people can die with true dignity.
Let’s hope NSW remains an island of health care sanity amid a sea of doctors brandishing syringes with poison.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile MLC has nominated Lyle to succeed him in the NSW Parliament when he retires in November. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.