Groups call for COVID-recovery as a priority in NSW
The timing of a push this year to introduce assisted suicide and euthanasia laws into the NSW parliament would be so inappropriate as to be “laughable”, says an anti-euthanasia advocate.
Director of Hope Branka van der Linden said independent MP Alex Greenwich’s intention to present draft legislation into parliament by the middle of the year indicated “tone-deafness” to the needs of a state reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Earlier in 2020, long-time euthanasia advocate, Nationals MLC Trevor Khan was exposed for convening a working group to push through assisted suicide laws, even though the state was in the midst of a bushfire crisis,” Ms van der Linden said.
“If Mr Khan’s proposal at the beginning of 2020 was inappropriate, then Mr Greenwich’s proposal at the end of a somewhat apocalyptic 2020 is laughable.” -Branka van der Linden
If Mr Khan’s proposal at the beginning of 2020 was inappropriate, then Mr Greenwich’s proposal at the end of a somewhat apocalyptic 2020 is laughable.
“Mr Khan was criticised at the time for attempting radical social changes when the state was busily trying to save lives. If Mr Khan’s proposal at the beginning of 2020 was inappropriate, then Mr Greenwich’s proposal at the end of a somewhat apocalyptic 2020 is laughable.
“It is never a good time to occupy parliamentary time with radical, ideological agendas, but it is particularly inappropriate as the state tries to recover from the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19.”
The Australian Christian Lobby is calling on the NSW government to increase palliative funding and research to ease suffering in the final stages of life. “The experience from overseas of the risk for elder abuse and malpractice should be cause for caution on assisted suicide, not a rush to follow other jurisdictions,” said ACL spokesperson Nikki Aben.
“Mr Greenwich should move for a comprehensive inquiry into end of life matters, including the adequacy of palliative care funding and services across New South Wales.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian told media it was not government policy that a bill be introduced to parliament this year and that she “would prefer” it not occur. “It’s not government policy [to introduce a euthanasia bill to parliament] and I would prefer that issue wasn’t debated, given everything else we’re facing,” the Premier said last month.
Last year the Premier assured MPs that there would be no more conscience votes in the current term of government which ends in 2023. Ms van der Linden said the pandemic had also demonstrated that appeals to individual autonomy as the highest priority “don’t cut it anymore”.
“People across the country and indeed around the world accepted the idea that personal autonomy could be restricted when the lives of vulnerable people are at risk,” she said.
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