David Leyonhjelm on Assisted Suicide November 2018

The struggle for the legalisation of assisted suicide across the nation will be long and hard.

In Victoria, assisted suicide is set to be legal from July 2019. However, this could change if a new Victorian Government reinstates a ban or stymies implementation. Already we’ve heard from Tony Abbott that, “a future Victorian parliament should have the moral decency to repeal this euthanasia law”.

The Liberal Democrats and other parties contesting this month’s upcoming Victorian state election will need to guard against any attempt to repeal Victoria’s landmark assisted suicide legislation or stymie its implementation.

But even if the Victorian advances are maintained, this is not enough. Australians outside Victoria who need the option of assisted suicide cannot simply move to Victoria; many are terminally ill and physically unable to move, and moving means leaving trusted healthcare support and family and friends.

In any case, the Victorian legislation will only cover those living in Victoria for more than a year, so anyone else suffering a terminal illness would probably still have to die a painful, natural death even if they moved to Victoria.

The only realistic approach is to legalise assisted suicide in each jurisdiction.

In New South Wales, Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats, the Shooters Party, most of the Liberals and half of Labor’s parliamentarians combined to vote down the legalisation of assisted suicide last year in the upper house. The vote was tight – 20 votes to 19 – so with pro-assisted suicide parties like the Liberal Democrats contesting the next NSW state election for the first time, the prospects for legalisation in NSW in the coming years are strong.

The prospects are also strong in Western Australia, where a parliamentary committee established with the backing of the Liberal Democrats’ Aaron Stonehouse MLC has recommended that the WA Government introduce assisted suicide legislation. Importantly, the WA Premier supports such legislation.

Prospects are weaker in Tasmania, where a bill to legalise assisted suicide was defeated 16 votes to 8 in the previous parliamentary term. The Liberal Premier was among the opponents, and the only Liberal to vote in favour lost his seat in the Tasmanian election earlier this year.

The Enlightenment is slow to come to Queensland too. In that state – where there is no upper house – Labor’s majority is slim and the crossbench is dominated by the Katter Australia Party. The Premier had been busy putting off the issue but eventually succumbed to pressure and agreed to an inquiry. However, the Liberal National Party in Queensland opposes assisted suicide and criticised the inquiry, saying the Queensland Government should focus on traffic issues instead.

Prospects are better in South Australia. A vote to legalise assisted suicide went down 24 to 23 in 2016, but ten of the ‘no’ voters then left the parliament at this year’s election while only five of the ‘yes’ voters left. So the current situation in South Australia is 14 parliamentarians opposed to legalising assisted suicide, 18 in favour and 15 unclear. South Australia’s new premier, Steven Marshall, who voted to legalise assisted suicide in the previous parliamentary term, should demonstrate leadership and put the issue to a vote in the current South Australian parliament.

The Northern Territory and ACT are currently prohibited by the Commonwealth from legalising assisted suicide. The Senate recently voted 36 to 34 against my bill to lift this ban, much to my regret. However, the next Senate election is likely to see an exodus of opponents of Territory rights including Senators Burston (United Australia Party), Georgiou (One Nation), Gichuhi (Liberals), Martin (Nationals) and Anning. This bodes well for a successful vote to restore Territory rights in the next parliamentary term.
Wherever we strive to legalise assisted suicide, we need to be prepared for the opposition we will face. We will come across groups representing a minority of doctors, like the Australian Medical Association. They are happy to have doctors decide whether a terminally-ill patient lives or dies, but object to the patients having a say. Many of these doctors are getting away with murder.

We will also come across people with a peculiar religious bent, who feel certain that they would never seek assisted suicide and are certain that everyone else should be like them.

And all across the nation we need to defeat the arrogance of those who think they know better than we do how we should die. Only then will we be free to choose our own life and death.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

This entry was posted in Cultural Issues, Guest Post, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to David Leyonhjelm on Assisted Suicide November 2018

  1. candy

    Only then will we be free to choose our own life and death.

    Sadly, hundreds of thousands of babies in Australia don’t get to choose their life even to start with, being snuffed out even up to full term.
    The problem is trusting politicians. They can with a stroke of pen snuff out so many babies, what will happen if they get to choosing euthanasia by stroke of a pen?
    I worry for the lives of disabled and simply old (not sick), the unwanted and unloved.

    The Queensland and Victorian premiers show they are people who do not value life. Very worrisome times.

  2. A Lurker

    The Progressive Left just love killing others via the dictates of the State.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    Seeing that the LDP failed to even attempt to institute protections for religious people during the SSM process, and have failed to push to overturn s18c, why would anyone trust that they would attempt to institute protections for “voluntary” euthanasia?

    I put quotes around “voluntary” to illustrate the problem. Bit hard to complain after you’re dead.

    Elderly Woman Resisted Being Euthanized, So Her Family Held Her Down. Now Doc Under Investigation

  4. Tim Neilson

    Elderly Woman Resisted Being Euthanized, So Her Family Held Her Down. Now Doc Under Investigation

    Nothing to see here. It’s for the greater good, Comrade.

  5. The BigBlueCat

    State-sanctioned killing – not a good idea! Netherlands and Belgian e perience with this is enough to deter, despite the so-called safeguards in the Victorian legislation.

  6. Rohan

    I note one thing the Hon. senator left out in his post regarding this matter. The LDP has aligned it’s position on euthanasia with that of the ALP and The Greens.

  7. Rohan

    The BigBlueCat
    #2868721, posted on November 21, 2018 at 12:41 pm
    State-sanctioned killing – not a good idea! Netherlands and Belgian e perience with this is enough to deter, despite the so-called safeguards in the Victorian legislation.

    You’ll only be safe when you’re dead. Especially if you’re elderly, isolated and vulnerable.

  8. Percy Popinjay

    Can we euthanase politicians who are in favour of this idiocy?

    For their own good, of course.

  9. Bela Bartok

    The Enlightenment is slow…

    I think that’s the wrong way around. The Enlightenment was all about Reason, and man’s capability and capacity.
    When did the idea of State-sanctioned Death Squads roaming the nursing homes and isolated elderly ever seem like a good idea? If we compare public transport efficiency to a private car, why on earth would we let the government anywhere near the ability to kill its citizens? We kill the unborn without regret – and even applaud late-term abortions as in Queensland, so now we want to kill the old, the infirm? It’s an obscene idea; all the more obscene by being covered in the glitz of “human rights”.
    A fringe idea, ran by fringe groups, for those on the fringe who delight in the death of others.

  10. Chris M

    “assisted suicide” = assisted self murder.

    Sure Dave, as the Australian government murders many babies every day might as well bump of old codgers like you also right.

  11. Chris M

    “South Australia’s new premier, Steven Marshall, who voted to legalise assisted suicide…”

    So let’s euthanize the state of SA then. As always, it’s for the greater good!

  12. Tintarella di Luna

    It is a dangerous myth that the people and the government are the same. The government is a set of interests that the people must tirelessly watch to make sure it does not destroy their liberties for its own political advantage.

    — David Kemp

  13. Death Giraffe

    Words fail.
    Just listened to the LDP ad on the radio and was thinking sounded good.
    Then this bunch of shit lands on the cat reminding me what a bunch of irrelevant lunatics you are.

  14. Chris

    Here we see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! We’re being oppressed!

    Well, if they are processing ALP and Greens members and voters I can understand David’s enthusiasm, but I still reckon its an absolute wrong.

  15. Chris

    Reader:

    So let’s euthanize the state of SA then. As always, it’s for the greater good!

    Response: The Greater Good!

  16. iggie

    The four popular reasons given for assisted suicide are pain/suffering, loss of quality lifestyle, burden on society/relatives, and it’s your life/your decision.
    Make people feel worthless, guilty, or empowered, and euthanasia will become as normal as abortion.
    Just think, no need for expensive drugs, life-saving operations, palliative care or nursing homes.
    What a saving

  17. Fat Tony

    Funny how the worst murdering scumbag pieces of shit can’t be killed off (no death penalty), but babies and soon the elderly, infirm, unwanted…. can be.

  18. Fat Tony

    Chris
    #2868809, posted on November 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm
    Here we see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! We’re being oppressed!

    Well, if they are processing ALP and Greens members and voters I can understand David’s enthusiasm, but I still reckon its an absolute wrong.

    How about a compromise – we process the above lot and then see how we feel about it….

  19. EvilElvis

    Funny how the worst murdering scumbag pieces of shit can’t be killed off (no death penalty), but babies and soon the elderly, infirm, unwanted…. can be.

    Exactly right, Fat Tony. But why show any moral fortitude when you can just hide behind the low hanging fruit of ‘giving people choices’ bullshit that gets trotted out. Big issues from DL, as usual.

    What a country…

  20. Probably the first essay of Leyonhjelm’s with which I disagree.
    I thought the LDP was all for smaller government.
    While I can understand the rationale in this article, I find the tone completely disgusting.
    “Wherever we strive to legalise assisted suicide, we need to be prepared for the opposition we will face. We will come across groups representing a minority of doctors, like the Australian Medical Association. They are happy to have doctors decide whether a terminally-ill patient lives or dies, but object to the patients having a say. Many of these doctors are getting away with murder. “
    Sounds too much like the Deep State for me.

  21. yarpos

    Personally I dont give a rats what the politicians, religious nutters and assorted hand wringers say, they are just noise. I plan to take action for myself in this regard. The internet is a wonderful thing and there are many resources available to those wishing to prepare for a peaceful end, some of which I have acquired and stored.

    I cant cover all contingencies but if I have control , I will make the decision in regard to my departure, not some self annointed tosser from the medical/religious/legal complex.

  22. I can’t cover all contingencies but if I have control, I will make the decision in regard to my departure, not some self annointed tosser from the medical/religious/legal complex.

    A “self-annointed tosser from the religious complex” always has the last word on departures.

  23. candy

    peaceful end, some of which I have acquired and stored.

    yarpos, that’s very hard for you. I hope you have someone to talk with about it all.

  24. vlad

    Dress it up how he likes, what he wants to make Victoria safe for is doctors killing patients.

  25. None

    The first and foremost dutyof any government is to protect its citizens. The first and foremost duty of the ldp is to find new ways to kill them and to have the state sanction their killing. The ldp think humans should die like dogs or rather die like dogs in David’a vet clinic. Most countries in the world won’t even euthanize animals but there’s the ldp egging on the government to permit citizens to kill other citizens. The ldp and David leyonjhelm can f*** right off.

  26. None

    Yarpos why are you waiting? Ooroo.

  27. Iampeter

    This isn’t going to get much support at the Cat.

    The confused leftists that dominate threads here, want to regulate more aspects of peoples lives than even today’s Greens movement.

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