John Barilaro thinks people should be treated like animals and that he’s “like Jesus”.
With their support for euthanasia looming, on July 8 I posed the question: Have the New South Wales Nationals become the party of death?
On September 19, The Sydney Morning Herald’s columnist Peter FitzSimons, sans red bandana, asked leader John Barilaro straight up.
Fitz: Lyle Shelton, has suggested the Nats were the “Party of Death”, for previously backing abortion reform, and this upcoming move.
Barilaro: Yes, and that was disgusting language to use. We are a party that is pragmatic brought together by geography not ideology, and it is easier to get things right. He needs to learn to respect our views.
Thanks John for the free advice.
But that’s not how the public discourse works. In civil society we debate issues, we don’t demand subservience.
Respect is earned by the power of persuasion and reason, not commanded as if one were Xi Jinping and the CCP.
In the same interview, Barilaro said he supported euthanasia because that’s how they treat animals down on the farm.
“Just as we understand that animals in pain have to be put down, so too, sometimes when humans are in agony, and there is no way out, there should be a humane way to end life with dignity,” he told Fitz.
But people are not dogs to be shot when they have outlived their usefulness.
It’s ethical to decide that medical treatment be denied a sick animal but a not to a person when pain relief and dignity is available.
Since when did we decide animal management was the source of inspiration for end-of-life health care for humans?
I get that many in the public are like Barilaro and only have a simplistic view of euthanasia.
They think, like Barilaro, that for many people “there is no way out” of pain and suffering.
But anyone who knows anything about modern palliative care knows this is not true. That's largely because the media, sadly, are incurious.
What most people don’t know is that if a human is suffering like a farm dog, they are not getting the health care to which they are entitled.
That’s what our politicians should be focussed on fixing, especially in the bush.
But providing poison instead of pain relief frees up hospital beds much quicker and is a lot cheaper.
Barilaro would do well to read Queensland Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli’s thoughtful speech during the recent parliamentary debate on euthanasia.
After reading the 400-page parliamentary report, Crisafulli said he had weighed the evidence and would vote no.
He questioned how people in the bush could be offered poison to end their lives before they were eligible for end-of-life health care.
“I believe this bill unintentionally, but unavoidably, puts a lesser value on the life of the poor, the remote, the sick.”
Crisuffuli understood that we don’t treat people like animals.
The Christian constituency once had great respect for the NSW Nats. They were after all the party of John Anderson.
But Barilaro’s enthusiastic support for abortion-to-birth, redefining marriage and now his boasting that all but one Nat will vote for euthanasia, has confirmed their status as an anti-family party of death.
And Fitz is loving it.
Fitz: This whole thing though seems wonderfully progressive on your part? Your track record on progressive politics is closer to the Birdsville Track than the Hume Highway, yes?
Barilaro: (Laughs) That is from your perspective. I cop a lot of criticism within the National Party for being too progressive. But our support of this fits, like it does with same-sex marriage. I’m all for small government, and in keeping the church and state out of individual lives. In this case the only job of government is to provide the framework so that lives can be ended safely and sensitively.
Fitz: Speaking of church and state, the church clearly has an inordinate amount of influence in the NSW Parliament, and have held up this legislation before. Don’t you personally risk being crucified on the cross-hairs, if I can mix my metaphors, of the hard religious right?
Barilaro: They will push hard. But it is personal, and I won’t be changing my position. I have been crucified before but like Jesus – who was also a carpenter like me – I know how to rise again!
Barilaro once touted his Christian credentials. Now all it seems he has got is a Messiah complex.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.