Here are some thoughts I sent in letter form, minus some details.
The topic of Euthanasia, I think it is a very serious issue.
The push for Euthanasia doesn’t take into account recent improvements in palliative care. My father’s experience as a GP is that people don’t really want to end their lives - they just want to avoid the suffering. Better access to and understand of palliative case is really what is needed, and would effectively make the case for Euthanasia pointless.
Some others argue for Euthanasia based on the desire for autonomy – I think this is really an ideological battle – with no real care for the people in question. The probably with complete autonomy is that it is driven by individualism. While a person’s individual nature is important, it ignores that we are created for relationships, we are born into families, live in communities – what affects us affects those around us and vice verse, and this fulfil part of what it means to be human. We shouldn’t go the other extreme and only say the community overrides the person in an absolute way – be we should see the interdependence that is part of our lives.
One of the problems Euthanasia poses is the pressure to end one’s life. It may be seen as an obligation. Pressure can come from a range of directions: ones family either directly, or from a sense to not be a burden on them; from medical staff; from fear of suffering, especially when palliative care is not well provided; also from insurance companies. Studies in countries such as the Netherlands show that there are cases of involuntary Euthanasia (which we should probably really call Murder) are happening by medical staff. Also that palliative care tends to go backwards, and those who support or performing the case are seen as selfish and not caring for the people involved.
While it seems Bob Brown has mentioned his bill is only about allowing the territories to have their own say just like the States – he is really just justifying the means by the end. He personally is for Euthanasia and probably sees this as the easiest way in Australia. I think it is a serious enough issue for the Federal to implement such laws as it currently has, which it is constitutionally allowed to do. Is it not for such cases that the Government has this power and responsibility?