Palaszczuk kills off euthanasia push, for now

Palaszczuk kills off euthanasia push, for now

This will be resuscitated after the election.

If euthanasia is not electoral poison, why is Annastacia Palaszczuk putting it into a coma until after the election?

I’ve always thought that Palaszczuk was a reluctant conscript to the radical social agenda of the left of her Labor party.

After all, it was her former deputy Jackie Trad who drove the abortion-to-birth agenda, holding a party to celebrate baby killing at a swank West End bar after the legislation passed.

Palaszczuk has done her best during this term of parliament to put off one of the left’s other prized social reforms – euthanasia.

She’s probably been helped by Trad’s rolling interactions with the Crime and Corruption Commission and more recently the Covid-19 crisis which saw Parliament suspended.

Palaszczuk has not declared whether or not she supports euthanasia.

But it is one of those social issues that sadly seems to have a lot of public support.

Even some in the LNP do, including former premier Campbell Newman.

Everyone fears dying and more than that fear, is fear of a bad death.

Almost everyone has a story of a loved one or friend who has suffered.

What is not widely known is that end of life health care has come a long way in the past 20 years.

Palliative care experts told the Parliament’s inquiry into so-called Voluntary Assisted Dying that requests for an early end of life dry up when people are given proper care.

The inquiry found that end of life heath care was badly under-funded and logic would dictate that this be fixed before even considering a debate about making killing part of health care.

But we live in an age were reason is out the window, trumped by emotions.

There are a small number of cases that are difficult to treat with palliative care but even then, palliative sedation is a pain-free option for the very worst cases.

With properly funded palliative care, the overwhelming majority of people can expect a dignified and pain-free death surrounded by their loved ones.

There is no reason to cross the Rubicon to where doctors suddenly become killers.

Sadly, this is a discussion missing in the media’s characterisation of the issue.

And sadly, the majority of politicians sitting on the cross-party inquiry leaned in favour of the lethal injection.

They were obviously affected by the emotional stories they heard from the public and from euthanasia activists. Who can blame them?

Except there is always an emotional reason to enact public policy.The trick is to make sure there are not unintended consequences, something impossible with euthanasia policy.

The chief concern with euthanasia legislation is how to stop the vulnerable from being wrongfully killed, something that has become routine in Holland and Belgium since they galloped through the ever-moving goalposts of euthanasia policy.

Because these wrongful deaths occur on the elderly or deeply sick and estates are involved, very little fuss is made.

To avoid euthanasia becoming too much of an election issue, Palaszczuk has kicked the can down the road, sending the issue off to the Queensland Law Reform Commission to come up with a draft bill.

This of course won’t happen until after the October 31 state election.

Queenslanders should be very concerned about the ability of the Law Reform Commission to thread the needle of allowing for euthanasia for the terminally ill who are in intractable pain (a tiny minority of patients) while preventing a suicide-on-demand regime - the real aim of leading euthanasia advocates.

Afterall, the Law Reform Commission were the geniuses who drafted Trad’s abortion-to-birth law with no provision for pain relief to be administered to unborn babies as they are torn limb from limb in their mother’s womb, no provision to stop men coercing mothers into killing their child and no provision to stop baby girls being targeted in sex-selection kills.

Everywhere euthanasia laws have been passed, the goalposts have moved. It is a slippery slope to euthanising the mentally ill (Holland and Belgium) and saving money in the health system (Canada).

At a time where our society has admirably made enormous sacrifices to make sure the old and frail did not suffer premature death because of coronavirus, why would we be even contemplating public policy which pressures them into that very thing?

With Trad on the backbench and fighting to hold her green-left seat of South Brisbane, you can bet euthanasia will be back on the table after October 31.

In the meantime, Palaszczuk hopes we all forget about the issue.