I believe euthanasia to be a very critically important subject. It’s not one that can be swept under the carpet. I believe that euthanasia has a lot going for it and that we need to cut through the hype and the emotion that often detract from a rational and logical consideration of the subject.
I am a strong believer in euthanasia. When Marshall Perron introduced and had passed his “Terminally Ill Bill“ in the Northern Territory in 1996 I was delighted. I was equally as disgusted when the Federal Parliament voted up a recision bill move by Kevin Andrews and seconded by Tony Burke.
Since the time Perron bill was introduced then canned, Victoria and now Western Australia have passed on our passing laws legalising euthanasia under particular circumstances.
I wrote to Kevin Andrews on the subject quite some number of years ago and was less than impressed by his rather offhanded dismissive reply.
I am a 73-year-old man. Fortunately I have my faculties about me and I’m reasonably fit from a physical viewpoint. There would be no way knowing I’d want to be reduced to a mentally febrile or physically reduced person that can happen upon people in old-age.
My passion on and about the subject was conveyed to Kevin Andrews and I’m producing my letter sent to him via email a number of years ago. My thinking on the subject has not changed.
The letter is produced “as was” Quinn sent and I am including my thinking that embraced my letter at the time.
.EUTHANASIA – A LETTER TO KEVIN ANDREWS
I am a believer in and supporter of Euthanasia. I wrote the following letter to Kevin Andrews some time ago and share the text.
Dear Mr Andrews
For a long time I have been distressed by the fact that you saw fit to introduce a private member’s bill into the Federal Parliament during the Howard years, which went to the overturning of the Northern Territory Euthanasia Bill. This is a matter about which I have harboured resentment for many years.
The NT Euthanasia Laws were well shaped and carefully structured by our then Chief Minister Marshall Perron. It was a day of relief rather than rejoicement when those laws were enacted into legislation.
In opposite vein, it was a day of rather astounded and disbelieving sadness, yet inevitability, when your private member’s bill got its overriding guernsey in Federal Parliament. I do not know if this bill was your own initiative or whether you were prevailed upon to move it to the parliament by other members of the Coalition. In any case, the rescinding of our most reasonable NT Act did our Territory and Northern Territorians a great disservice.
It is interesting that, by degree, the world is starting to catch up with Mr Perron’s ‘Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill’, which became part of our law over 20 years ago.
I have just turned 70. In my time, members of my family have passed in sad circumstances during which their rationality and their humanity was progressively dismantled by creeping loss of body and mind. I have seen that happen for many people and my awareness grows with advancing age.
For mine, I am desirous of incorporating into the provisions of my hastening old age, a provision that should I become totally incapable or demented, to the point of my reliance on life becoming the full responsibility of others, that I be allowed to decline my mortality: That I be allowed this as a legitimate right to determine, while still of sound body and mind.
Your bill stripped me of a basic human right and the possibility of action that should be an entitlement. I was deeply disappointed in what you did then. That disappointment remains until this day.
11 March 2016
Mr Andrews eventually replied in a nondescript manner. Just to tell me in broad brush terms that the Federal Parliament acting on its operational principles, scuttled one of the wisest, most decent and empathetic pieces of legislation ever introduced into any Australian Parliament.
I still seethe about Mr Andrews and the Federal Parliament for mechanically and unreasonably brushing aside the Marshall Perron Euthanasia Bill. Few things in my life have been unforgivable. This matter is an exception.