David Leyonhjelm on the assisted suicide deal

The making of laws is like the making of sausages—the less you know about the process, the more you respect the result.

My approach to law-making is often pretty simple: when legislation clearly undermines the small government principles of the Liberal Democrats I vote against it. When it supports those principles, I support it.

For example, I always vote against tax hikes, such as those the government has imposed on superannuation, banks and low-value imports. And I always vote for tax cuts, such as the Government’s paltry personal and company tax cuts.

But things get complicated when legislation incorporates both good and bad elements, or when it has little to do with the principles for which I stand. In those instances, I may vote for or against the legislation depending on whether I can extract a commitment from the Government to make progress on one or more other issues that I and my party hold dear.

Because most legislation is tinkering at the edges of our social democracy rather than introducing anything resembling reform, this situation occurs fairly regularly.

One arose with the bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Despite the hyperbole of the major parties, this legislation was really just an exercise in tinkering. It did not seek to remove wage fixing, union privileges or any of the other barriers to employment imposed by our ridiculous industrial relations system. Had it done so, my support would have been a no-brainer. Instead, the ABCC legislation just changed the enforcement of existing industrial relations law.

I had some sympathy for the Government’s focus on the ABCC bill given the need to deal with lawlessness at construction sites, but I was concerned that it also undermined important principles of western civilisation, like being innocent until proven guilty. Given that, I negotiated a deal with Prime Minister Turnbull in which I gained five ‘liberty offsets’ in return for my vote to support the bill.

First, the Government agreed to amend the ABCC legislation so that, if workers were accused of going on strike for reasons other than workplace safety, the onus would be on the prosecution to prove it. This defended the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

Second, the Government agreed to encourage via COAG a review of the use of court suppression orders. My aim is for all jurisdictions to grant media organisations a right to challenge the scope and duration of suppression orders. This will foster our free press and help ensure that justice is done, and seen to be done.

Third, the Government agreed to require the ABC and SBS to hold at least half their board meetings within the community, including in regional areas, and for these board meetings to be followed by community forums. This is small step towards improving the accountability of the ABC and SBS to the people they serve, including to those who do not subscribe to their groupthink.

Fourth, the Government agreed to report key figures in the budget in real per capita terms. This provides official confirmation that, after adjusting for inflation and population growth, tax has never been higher and neither has government spending.

Finally, the Government agreed to allow a free vote on my bill to allow the ACT and Northern Territory to legislate for assisted suicide. That vote in the Senate is now scheduled for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the week that the Senate next sits — the third week in August. If it passes, the deal also includes provision for a debate and free vote in the House of Representatives soon thereafter.

When the Commonwealth passed a private members bill in 1997 to remove the right of the territories to legislate on assisted suicide, it deprived their voters of the right to elect representatives who reflect their views. Given the ACT and NT both have an elected parliament, this is not something that should continue.

If assisted suicide becomes legal across the country, it will in part be because of the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Perhaps some might view it as an ugly process, but it is hopefully leading to a hearty outcome. Just like the humble sausage.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

This entry was posted in Federal Politics, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to David Leyonhjelm on the assisted suicide deal

  1. Dr Fred Lenin

    Is someone suggesting that we are to assist inept political traitors to do the honourable thing and commit Hara Kari , surely not. Though the thought has some merit .

  2. Oh come on

    assisted suicide

    Creepy as hell.

  3. Oh come on

    Ps. DL is still irked by that Annabel Crabb thing on Parliament House that featured him.

  4. Adam D

    Why would you promote assisted suicide over all of the liberty causes? Why not just leave the territories to a free vote?

    It reminds me of a Simpsons episode:

    We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States Congress.
    Then it is unanimous.
    We are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of – Wait a second.
    I wanna tack on a rider to that bill.
    Thirty million dollars of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.
    All in favor of the amended Springfield/pervert bill? Bill defeated.

  5. Oh come on

    Crabb made it seem as though DL’s opening offer was to trade his support for the ABCC legislation for the government to get the Adler lever-action shottie approved, and that he eventually sold his vote for a few ABC board meetings being held in regional areas. I can see why DL is still irked by it.

    Although the legislating-as-sausage making metaphor he provided could have been better. Everyone knows that tired old trope.

  6. John Brumble

    What bull dust. The natural state is someone exchanging work for capital. It is the striking worker who needs to prove that this should change, not the other way around.

  7. Candy

    Whatever it takes, I guess, comes to mind. Euthanasia should be a stand alone issue though. It is a bit weird to have a most serious social policy traded with a union worksite issue. Would we do the same with an abortion policy, for example.

  8. J.H.

    What’s the difference between State sanctioned assisted suicide, state sanctioned abortion and state sanctioned capital punishment?… None. It is the state killing it’s citizenry in every case.

    Usually by using doctors who have been steeped from kindergarten to university in political correctness and who will be entirely dependent upon the welfare state. Our system doesn’t have a free market in medical doctors… They are quasi political appointments in a highly regulated and rationed system, almost completely funded by the Taxpool.

    I don’t trust the state to supply me with cost effective electricity, why would I trust the state with the power of life and death via a massive and oppressive bureaucracy?

    If you give the State the power to kill you… Then it will kill you.

    You might be thinking about it in one way, but I can guarantee you the permanent bureaucracy will be thinking of it in an entirely different way.

    How about we remove the State’s ability to extract compulsory taxation? That would make more sense then giving the state the power to kill the distressed, the inconvenient and the dissident.

    Sigh… We can but dream… I’ll probably be still dreaming of a society without compulsory taxation when they come to euthanize me…. with my consent apparently.

  9. None

    God DL is a f***wit. The first and foremost duty of any government is to protect its’s citizens- that includes protecting citizens from enemies without and protecting citizens from each other. That includes protecting citizens from other people who want to kill them like DL. In fact one can say it’s probably the only duty of government and yet here we have f***wit Leyonjhelm advocating that citizens kill other citizens without any legal or social sanction. He is as green as the Greens are and just as big a fuckwit as Sarah Hanson Young. To quote DL himself he can go and f*** off

  10. stackja

    Depressing thought that depressed depressants will be deprived of life.

  11. BorisG

    None you can go and F off. DL is the most reasonable member of parliament.

  12. Up The Workers!

    Can we send him a list of names of those we recommend he give assistance to?

    Mine would have all the usual Leftard suspects – sexists, racists, ageists, scientific frauds and dodgy Canadians with prosthetic eyebrows.

  13. A Lurker

    SSM and State-Sanctioned Murder – it all comes down to growing the influence and power of the State over the individual citizen.

  14. A Lurker

    God DL is a f***wit. The first and foremost duty of any government is to protect its’s citizens- that includes protecting citizens from enemies without and protecting citizens from each other. That includes protecting citizens from other people who want to kill them like DL. In fact one can say it’s probably the only duty of government and yet here we have f***wit Leyonjhelm advocating that citizens kill other citizens without any legal or social sanction. He is as green as the Greens are and just as big a fuckwit as Sarah Hanson Young. To quote DL himself he can go and f*** off

    He’s a vet.
    He probably gave the big green needle to too many cats and dogs and thinks humans are no different.
    Here Granny – here is a needle for you, and I promise that you won’t feel a thing…

  15. struth

    Libertarian logic.
    We want government to get out the road and leave you alone but want it also to have the right to kill you.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  16. Jumpnmcar

    DL is not arguing for State to kill anyone.

  17. nemkat

    Voluntary mercy killing?
    Who’s the volunteer, though? The killer,the killee, both, or neither?

    DL sounds like a fan of Eugenics, probably goes with the territory, him being a member of the European Aristocracy.

  18. nemkat

    DL is not arguing for State to kill anyone.

    He isn’t? Well, that’s okay, then.
    I can start spruiking at the entrance to Peter Mac:
    Garrotting half price, sale ends thursday, don’t miss out, geezers!

  19. EvilElvis

    All pathetic and virtuous ‘liberty offsets’ until you come to the final typical libertarian cherry on top of another important social issue. FMD, libertarians…

  20. Entropy

    It is actually a very appalling principle. Evaluate the proposed bill on its merits. Support it or not. The compromise needs to be within aspects of the objectives of the Bill and what it does, not unrelated matters.
    And why is the senate promoting and pursuing policies? Isn’t it a house of review? As in looking at what the Bill does and either approving it or requesting the HoR think a bit more about it because X,Y or Z?
    This sort of horse trading is why people despise and hate politicians. It generally makes then look like venal scum. And Inevitably, horse trading leads to compromise on core values.

  21. Entropy

    In those instances, I may vote for or against the legislation depending on whether I can extract a commitment from the Government to make progress on one or more other issues that I and my party hold dear.

    Until you stop doing exactly that I will never, ever vote LDP.

  22. struth

    DL is not arguing for State to kill anyone.

    How so?

  23. Roger

    Perhaps some might view it as an ugly process, but it is hopefully leading to a hearty outcome.

    Nothing hearty about suicide.

  24. gary

    I have no opinion on assisted suicide. But when the 104 year old WA doctor went to Switzerland to commit suicide I was coincidentally reading about the impact of social proof on decision making. The book detailed research showing the increase in suicide rates after a suicide has been highly publicised – an increase in suicide rates that the book concludes is due to the impact of social proof.
    It seems to me that since the story of the 104 yo’s suicide, there have been increase in the number of suicides and murder suicides. If it turns out that assisted suicide leads to more people killing themselves (and others) then the legalizing of assisted suicide needs to take into account the impact of the suicide on the actions of other people who may be confused and uncertain (and be influenced to commit a copy cat suicide).

  25. Entropy

    It is no coincidence that this week’s australian story will feature that 104 year old drama queen.
    How very ABC.

  26. John Constantine

    Everybody gets a lifetime, then the next natural step is the dying time.

    The State can now intervene in what used to mostly be a short process, and can now make heroic efforts to draw out your death rattle for a period of time that many people feel to be torturous.

    By all means use medical intervention where it is a religious necessity or personal choice or simply if you could never bear to think about the issue during your competent lifetime.

    Allowing a considered and competent person to stop the State intervening in their life [and death] is true freedom.

  27. candy

    It is actually a very appalling principle. Evaluate the proposed bill on its merits. Support it or not.

    Absolutely.
    I would say if a politician bargains one against the other, it means he/she has no firm belief on either issue.

    Perhaps DL feels a bit guilty about this,? that’s why he wrote the column because generally he seems to have firm very considered views on stuff and long years of experience to arrive at his views.

  28. Tom

    Figure out another way to make your sausage, David: assisted suicide is legalised murder and, if passed, will become another free-for-all like abortion on demand. As always, it’s the political class, of which you are a member, imposing its depravity on the rest of us.

    Because of this, I have changed my mind about supporting Leyonhjelm’s commonsense views on other issues by voting LDP at the next election in the Senate or the Reps. He and the LDP have political autism spectrum disorder and can’t be trusted on any question of morality.

  29. stackja

    DL seems to support open borders. DL picked an unnecessary fight with SHY. Now this. What next?

  30. Shy Ted

    The 3rd point, board meetings in regional areas. Way to boost board’ income with all those expenses and have a bit of a holiday at our expense. Stupid gubbmint.

  31. Tel

    DL is not arguing for State to kill anyone.

    How so?

    If the state vanished tomorrow, then euthanasia would be legal (so would everything else).

  32. Tel

    I would say if a politician bargains one against the other, it means he/she has no firm belief on either issue.

    Gosh! Imagine not having a firm belief in the ABCC but using it as political leverage. How about that?

    But things get complicated when legislation incorporates both good and bad elements, or when it has little to do with the principles for which I stand. In those instances, I may vote for or against the legislation depending on whether I can extract a commitment from the Government to make progress on one or more other issues that I and my party hold dear.

    Smokes! The man admits as much!!

  33. struth

    If the state vanished tomorrow, then euthanasia would be legal (so would everything else).

    Then you wouldn’t be asking the state to kill you.

  34. struth

    The pro euthanasia people seem to think you need government approval to kill yourself.
    Don’t worry guys.
    You won’t have to pay the fine.

    Just do it.

  35. Rossini

    Tom
    #2757593, posted on July 8, 2018 at 9:07 am

    +1

  36. nemkat

    DL gets het up about a reverse onus of proof for Unions when homers are pulled over safety issues on site.

    Urgent mail for DL:
    Identifying safety issues on site is Unionism 101 for even novice Organisers.
    It’s never going to be a problem.
    The upside to Reverse Onus is that it gives the Employer and the Union leeway to come to some agreement and stay out of the Commission.

  37. Des Deskperson

    ‘It is no coincidence that this week’s australian story will feature that 104 year old drama queen.
    How very ABC.’

    Entropy, it’s actually on Foreign Correspondent:

    http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/

    Apart from the fact that the old incompetent – having failed to top himself by himself on several previous occasions – had to go to Switzerland to get someone else to do it for him, there is no foreign affairs or foreign policy interest whatever in the story. The ABC is obviously pretty desperate to run it.

    The show is titled ‘On His Own Terms’, despite the fact that, as his earlier failed attempts of suicide indicate, he clearly couldn’t do it on his own terms.

  38. Death Giraffe

    DL.
    Love your telling greens to “fuck off” policy.
    Hate your kill granny policy.
    Guess which one is more important?

  39. JC

    How does this law deal with the issue of “informed consent”? Informed consent is legal fiction as it assumes people close to an ill person can read his /her mind and decide on their behalf to snuff life out. It’s fabricated bullshit.

  40. Dr Fred Lenin

    Legal Murder of unborn babies ,euthanasia of the old ,sick ,mentally deficient ,samesex “marriage” thansgenderism love of fascist thought ,yes,that’s modern fascist communism . The socialist Hitler liked the euthanasia thing it helped prepare murderers to kill the Jews and Slavs . If you can kill people for being old sick or retarded what’s wrong with killing deniers ? Surely they are mentally disturbed if the don’t believe in Gaia and “fairness” . Love the new “fairness” shit , like the fascist bastard soros (schwartz ) wants fairness for the poor? Shortass the millionaire lover ? Alf gore ? Fatty Moore? Kelvin rudd and Therese? They think I sailed down the Yarra on a Sao biscuit?

  41. Tim

    Just for the record, this bill will remove the federal restrictions on the ACT and the NT voting to introduce euthanasia. Not actually introduce federal death panels.

  42. Leigh Lowe

    Because of this, I have changed my mind about supporting Leyonhjelm’s commonsense views on other issues by voting LDP at the next election in the Senate or the Reps. He and the LDP have political autism spectrum disorder and can’t be trusted on any question of morality.

    Agree.
    LDP doesn’t even make my long list for that reason and the likelihood that he would go the full Merkel on immigration.

  43. Tel

    Informed consent is legal fiction … fabricated bullshit.

    Corporate personhood; individual income regarded as a corporate profit for tax purposes; Parliament delegating lawmaking powers to unelected departments; limited liability that protects both shareholders and employees from consequences; government “guarantees” of the banking sector; government bonds being regarded as an “investment” and “the safest option”; looking at unemployment as the headline statistic instead of employment; being “charitable” with other people’s money; ignorance of the law being no excuse (unless you are police) but knowledge of the law being impossible.

    Dude, fabricated bullshit is what runs this joint. Make yourself comfortable.

  44. old bloke

    Moral issues aside, why is a Senator for New South Wales involving himself in issues relating to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory?

    You are in the Senate to represent your state, argue long and hard for the right to kill Sydney-siders if that turns you on, but butt out of issues which impact other states and territories.

  45. Tel

    Love your telling greens to “fuck off” policy.
    Hate your kill granny policy.
    Guess which one is more important?

    The Greens will simply kill granny by a different method… freezing at home with no electricity.

    You knew that, didn’t you?

  46. AH

    Assisted suicide is not a libertarian aim. Libertarians believe in the sanctity of human life, from which stems private property rights. This is why libertarians oppose large government because it is contrary to private property and the sanctity of human life.

  47. Stimpson J. Cat

    Finally, the Government agreed to allow a free vote on my bill to allow the ACT and Northern Territory to legislate for assisted suicide.

    You are part of the reason why nobody likes Libertarians or takes them seriously.
    Carry on.

    Looking forward to this year’s Christmas song in Parliament!!!!
    Can’t wait!

  48. EvilElvis

    Just for the record, this bill will remove the federal restrictions on the ACT and the NT voting to introduce euthanasia. Not actually introduce federal death panels.

    Phew! That’s reassuring.

  49. Grandma

    Turns out the senator is just another politician whose vote is for sale. And so cheap to buy, too!

  50. Procrustes

    Adam D (and others)

    “… why not just leave the territories to a free vote?”

    The Territories are not allowed a free vote on this issue courtesy of the “Andrews Bill”. That is what DL’s legislation is about- removing the Commonwealth veto on the territories being able to decide this matter for themselves.

    It does not introduce voluntary assisted dying, it only allows the territories to do so if they so wished.

  51. Rob MW

    Oh dear, why would a fledgling political party take on a deeply dividing (legislative) issue like this ?

    Surely David knows that government interventions are broadswords and work hand in glove with the laws of unintended consequences. This issue requires a scalpel and a much larger administrative agency where stuff-ups (opps, sorry about that) face the full force of criminal justice without state sanctioned immunity.

  52. Procrustes

    Gary

    “It seems to me that since the story of the 104 yo’s suicide, there have been increase in the number of suicides and murder suicides.”

    Do you have any evidence for this claim?

  53. OneWorldGovernment

    Can I assist the xunts that killed folk in Melbourne by car?

    They should have been shot out of hand.

  54. John Constantine

    “The papal plan for a truce is either ingenious or deceptive, depending on your point of view. Instead of formally changing the church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage, same-sex marriage, euthanasia — changes that are officially impossible, beyond the powers of his office — the Vatican under Francis is making a twofold move. First, a distinction is being drawn between doctrine and pastoral practice that claims that merely pastoral change can leave doctrinal truth untouched. So a remarried Catholic might take communion without having his first union declared null, a Catholic planning assisted suicide might still receive last rites beforehand, and perhaps eventually a gay Catholic can have her same-sex union blessed — and yet supposedly none of this changes the church’s teaching that marriage is indissoluble and suicide a mortal sin and same-sex wedlock an impossibility, so long as it’s always treated as an exception rather than a rule.

    At the same time, Francis has allowed a tacit decentralization of doctrinal authority, in which different countries and dioceses can take different approaches to controversial questions. ”

    Will there be a purge of the heretics, or will there be a changing of the guard?.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/opinion/pope-francis-vatican-disaster.html

    Does one act of Heresy mean the senator must be purged?.

    Lot of Heretics willing to live and let live, but if voting for a heretic like Good Senator Dave is impossible, if only non sinning, non heretics are acceptable, an alternative to one woman one vote will be needed.

    What else do people hope for?.

  55. BorisG

    Until you stop doing exactly that I will never, ever vote LDP.

    A hypocritical position. Had he bargained on something you support, you would be all for it.

  56. Dr Fred Lenin

    All this fuss about the Canberra Town Council and the Nortern Territory Shire Council, Canberra should be part of NSW as QueanbeyanCanberra and the Territory should be a Shire in SA save heaps of money and bullshit pollietalk .

  57. BorisG

    All this fuss about the Canberra Town Council and the Nortern Territory Shire Council, Canberra should be part of NSW as QueanbeyanCanberra and the Territory should be a Shire in SA save heaps of money and bullshit pollietalk .

    This is a more radical solution, probably well beyond the ability of DL or indeed the entire senatorium.

  58. Jonesy

    Sorry…David, you are the state in this case…opposite to your core belief.

  59. Chris M

    My approach to law-making is often pretty simple

    God makes the laws David. You are just proposing regulations and with ‘assisted suicide’ attempting to play God.

    It’s not going to end well…

  60. The problem with euthanasia is the window for people in insufferable pain etc and who are of a sound mind is very small.

    The other issue is why should we “protect” people who want to kill themselves.

    The fact is that euthanasia would be law if the NT was a State. Statehood has been pushed for years by Territorians.

    The only reason why it is a Federal issue is that of the quasi-NHS we have here. That is a problem more than legalising euthanasia. We have “death panels” already, you just don’t see it. The waiting times are killing people.

    It will not become a moral non-issue if statehood is granted.

    I’m for euthanasia but I’m yet to see a good law to implement it.

  61. nemkat

    Palliative Care is the option for people with insufferable pain.
    It’s available right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.