Monica Doumit: Stand firm against euthanasia

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Catholic healthcare providers in WA have signalled strong opposition to a proposed euthanasia law.
Plans to bring an assisted suicide bill to parliament by mid-2021 leaves time for nothing but the veneer of public consultation, says Monica Doumit.

Another dodgy anti-life campaign is underway

Happy New Year!

While most of us took a break at the end of last year, to spend time with friends and family – albeit in restricted numbers – and celebrate Christmas and say goodbye to a very difficult 2020, tone-deaf euthanasia activists were polling and scheming and working on their campaign to push through legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in New South Wales this year.

While most of us were once again accepting state-enforced limits on our personal autonomy in order to protect the most vulnerable in society, particularly the elderly who are at greater risk during this pandemic, euthanasia advocates were thinking about ways that the death of the vulnerable sick and elderly could be streamlined during the year ahead.

Euthanasia advocates are trying to get around the conscience vote issue by calling for a plebiscite

Their intent, it seems, is to mimic the dodgy and clandestine process that marked 2019’s abortion laws and this time attack those at the end, rather than the beginning, of their life.  If you recall, the abortion bill was announced and then tabled first in parliament without the public consultation that was provided in other states.  It was only after significant public backlash that any inquiry was conducted and even then, it was a rushed inquiry where most submissions were not even read.

When speaking of the abortion law, its advocates argued that New South Wales could rely on the inquiries held in other states, rather than giving the people of this state the opportunity to have their say. I imagine they will argue the same for not giving people a chance to voice their views on euthanasia either.

NSW Independent MP Alex Greenwich announced that he expected the bill to be tabled in Parliament by mid-2021, so that definitely doesn’t leave time for anything but the veneer of public consultation.

Even now, euthanasia advocates have begun a dishonest campaign arguing that it is only a small minority of people who oppose these brutal laws, with the only basis of these claims being public polling that does not address the complexity of state-sanctioned suicide, let alone the alternatives to such a regime.

While these advocates may hope that they will have the same “success” as the abortion campaign, there are a few key differences.

The first is that the abortion law, while eventually passed, was a disaster for the Government.  So divisive was the law and so strong the public reaction, that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reportedly assured Coalition MPs that there would be “no more conscience votes in this term of government.”

Matters of life and death are usually afforded a conscience vote by both major parties, and so it is hard to see that any euthanasia bill would proceed to a vote without the Premier reneging on her assurance and risking the further alienation of religious groups that have been disappointed at disproportionate restrictions placed upon places of worship during the pandemic.

So far, the Premier has indicated that she will not make the same mistakes of the abortion campaign.  Euthanasia advocates are trying to get around the conscience vote issue by calling for a plebiscite, but it is doubtful that this will gain any real traction either.

Another obstacle in the path of Mr Greenwich’s deadly plan is a resolution of the Liberal party room.  Mr Greenwich told media that he expected the bill would be brought forward by MPs from all parties, working together to bring the draft legislation forward.  This would be in a similar fashion to the abortion bill, which had more than a dozen co-sponsors.

However, it was further reported that the party room agreed that “no further MPs would be involved in cross-party working groups on such social legislation, as had occurred with the abortion bill, without consulting their party rooms.”

Unless certain members of the Liberal party room decide to ignore this agreement, something that will only cause further division in a Government trying to hold it together during a pandemic, an ICAC inquiry and more, then Mr Greenwich’s expectation will not be borne out.

The next obstacle, dear friends, is all of you.

While the abortion bill caught us all a little off-guard, it is not the case this time around.  So many more of those on the side of life are willing to work together, and to speak up and make their views known to their MPs, both during a debate and at the ballot box.

I have heard from so many of you who had never been to a rally before the ‘Stand for Life’ rallies in Martin Place and Hyde Park, but realised how easy (and enjoyable) it was to raise your voices for the most vulnerable, and are eager to fight again.

I look forward to fighting with you.

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