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Canberra Today 1°/5° | Monday, May 20, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Why I won’t vote to euthanise children

“Not content with euthanising our children and people with years to live, the minister has also announced the ACT government is to consider euthanasia for dementia sufferers.”

“The ACT government’s dictatorial and undemocratic compulsory takeover of Calvary hospital shows the lengths it will go to roll out its extreme euthanasia agenda,” writes Deputy Opposition Leader JEREMY HANSON.

MANY Canberrans who are open to the concept of euthanasia may be unaware of how radical the ACT’s version of these laws will be.  

Jeremy Hanson.

The local Greens and Labor government is pushing the most extreme version of euthanasia in Australia.

Their plans include the euthanasia of children, euthanasia of people with still years to live, as well as considering the euthanasia of dementia patients.

The Labor minister who is behind these laws, is on the record saying that children “should have the same end-of-life choices as adults”.  

She reportedly told “The Australian” newspaper “she was considering allowing minors as young as 14 to be eligible for assisted suicide”. This age could be even lower. Under questioning, she has been evasive about what age children could be euthanised, stating only that “a young person’s decision-making capability would need to be assessed by a health professional”.

This is particularly concerning given parental rights are constantly being eroded in the ACT. Will parents even have the legal right to stop their own children taking up euthanasia?  

The ACT government will also allow people with years to live to be euthanised, which is limited across the rest of Australia to people with six to 12 months to live. 

Does that mean a child with years to live could access euthanasia, potentially without parental consent? That’s the direction this government is heading.

Not content with euthanising our children and people with years to live, the minister has also announced the ACT government is to consider euthanasia for dementia sufferers, saying she will “publicly commit our government to considering this issue further”.

People with disabilities have also raised concerns. ACT disability advocate Craig Wallace recently said that “there are widely held concerns among many people with disability and advocates about euthanasia becoming a default option for people whose lives are made unbearable by poverty, unsuitable housing, healthcare, pain management and isolation”.  

Experience from Canada which has similar extreme laws should serve as a warning. As Craig Wallace points out: “Canadians with disability report that governments will fund access to assisted dying, but not the incomes they need to survive.” 

Disturbingly, it appears the government does not intend to limit these laws only to ACT residents; this will be open to anyone who can show a “connection” to the ACT. 

It seems inevitable that euthanasia laws will be passed in the ACT before the next election. My great concern is how extreme they will be.

Any assurances and platitudes from the government ministers should not be believed. When warned that any ACT government version of euthanasia laws were likely to be “extreme”, those concerns were attacked and dismissed by Labor and Greens MLAs and described as “scaremongering”. It turns out those concerns were entirely legitimate.

The ACT government’s dictatorial and undemocratic compulsory takeover of Calvary hospital and the consequential and inevitable transfer of Clare Holland House shows the lengths it will go to roll out its extreme euthanasia agenda. 

The fact that Calvary was opposed to euthanasia was clearly an impediment to the ACT government’s plans. People who believe that there wasn’t an anti-faith and pro-euthanasia agenda behind that takeover are naïve.

This is a government that has been in power too long and is riding roughshod over the community. Its euthanasia plans are just the latest campaign in implementing its radical agenda without any constraints.  

Euthanasia is a complex ethical issue that has caused me considerable personal reflection. 

I feel great compassion for people who are in pain at the end of a terminal illness and understand why in these circumstances many people consider euthanasia to be appropriate. 

However, we should absolutely rule out any consideration of euthanising children and dementia patients, or those with life expectancies of many years still to live.

Euthanasia is a conscience vote for Liberal MLAs and I for one will be voting against what are planned to be the most extreme euthanasia laws in Australia. 

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