Dying with dignity – crashes and burns

Lara Giddings, Premier of Tasmania, who do you think we are?  Giddings, as one of the proposers of the Dying with Dignity Act which fell at the first hurdle, she was “odd” (I am trying to be generous) in her FB post.

LG’s FB Post in full “I am disappointed by the narrow defeat of voluntary assisted dying legislation. Achieving major social change is always an incremental process. The first step is to have elected representatives who are prepared to stand up for their communities and for what they believe in. My approach to this debate has been driven by an inherent and long-held belief that no one should be made to live with insufferable pain. There is no intellectual or ethical reason why, in the twenty-first century, a person should experience a death that is full of suffering and agony.”

I have been seriously disappointed with the PROCESS that has been undertaken, but am quite annoyed, and not included to cut her much slack having read her FB post.

To get legislation up, requires a 3 reading process in both houses.  It fell at the first of 6 steps.  This is not a “narrow defeat”.   (The best estimates are that the upper house would have been a far more comprehensive numeric loss) During the lengthy first reading debate, the Premier was pleading with an MP (who conceptually supported euthanasia) to vote it in to committee (2nd step) where the detail of legislation is debated and adjusted.  The MP declined – flaws, lack of protections, serious drafting problems.

Given the absolute deafness to all expressed concerns, in the community consultation phase, it is a little rich, to suddenly (when you see your indulgent “private members bill” as Premier failing) find an interest in negotiation and review.  Both the Australian Medical Association (Tas) and the Law Society (Tas) were non supporters of the legislation. Perhaps if she and Nick McKim had been more consultative and less intransigent more MPs might have been inclined to at least pass the legislaiton to committee.

One of the often heard nonsenses is that “80% of Tasmanians support euthanasia” which actually translates as a pro-euthanasia has run a bogus, and loaded survey in which 80% of Tasmanian’s were NOT supportive of futile medical efforts, against the will of a patient, who was in excrutiating and unrelieved pain – hardly “euthanasia” in any fair assessment.

Working back up from the end of LG’s FB post – who, does The Premier think doesn’t agree with avoiding “insufferable pain”, “suffering and agony”, and not inflicting it?  Perhaps for the first time in her Premiership we could actually see some funding increases to palliative care?  Or is the commitment only to providing euthansia?  It is graceless, misleading, and mischievous to pretend that those who do NOT support euthanasia are somehow insensible, and uncompassionate w.r.t. pain and suffering of others.

The majority of MPs who do NOT agree with Lara Giddings ARE “standing up for their communities” and “what they believe in”.

“Achieving major social change” is not “incremental”.  It is a result of leadership, which involves being consultative, listening, and addressing concerns, providing a stretch goal, and carrying the community with the leader.

What we have witnessed from Lara Giddings and Nick McKim has been indulgent personal idealogical whim.  Selective and misleading “facts” presented as debate.  Intransigence, and complete unwillingness to suggest that those who don’t agree with the radical agenda have any genunie concerns, or genuine preparedness to engage.

Lara Giddings, you didn’t lead.  And only you can address that…   until the next state election.


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