Sunday, 26 September 2010

Gillard against legalising euthanasia!

And here's one for all those paranoid about the Emily's listers gaining power: the Prime Minister has come out indicating that she does not support legalising euthanasia:

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the technicalities of legalising euthanasia seems "almost impossible", but she is still open to debating the issue. [Under the terms of the deal with the Independents she has to be open to the debate  - a provision of the deal - one that I very much doubt Mr Abbott will choose to renege on, requires private members bills to be given the time of day.]

The Australian Greens is pushing to give terminally-ill people in the Northern Territory or the ACT the right to die as one of its top priorities. [The Greens are black indeed]

Ms Gillard has promised Labor MPs a conscience vote on the issue [as has Mr Abbott], but said on Sunday, she has some in-principle reservations.

"I find it almost impossible to conceptualise how there would be appropriate steps and safeguards," she told Network Ten.

"Intellectually, people should be able to make their own decision, but I find it very hard to conceptualise how we would have the sort of safeguards that we would need if we did say that euthanasia was legal."


A Canberra Observer said...

au contraire Terra.

What I took from her speaking for ABC Radio was that in her view it seemed reasonable that an individuals should be able to decide/have the right to take their own life. She just couldn't see how you could draft a law that would give "the appropriate safeguards". I guess that is the silver lining - she can see it could become a de facto 'putting down' provision.

With its rush to bed down with the Greens, this government must still be viewed with extreme suspicion on how it will respond to any moral issue. The conscience vote is a convenient device to appear fair-minded and perhaps even moral. I believe it is mostly a hollow gesture in our body politic now.

Terra said...

Not so, Canberra Observer, have a read of the transcript.

It is true that she said she accepts the principle that people can choose to commit suicide. But she also clearly indicated that she was not in favour of legislating for any such 'right' because of the impossibility of protecting people against pressure etc.

Of course I'd like her to go further and reject any choice about hastening one's death in any circumstances. But in the context of MPs in our Parliament, it is their attitude to legislation that we must care about above all.

I don't agree that Labor has rushed to bed down with the Greens - all they have done is sign up to an agreement (with them and the other Independents) to allow a free debate and vote on private member's bills. That is hardly objectionable, indeed potentially better for democracy than the strict two party controlled legislative program.

The problem arises because of the policies and priorities of the Greens, not Labor.

Of course whoever has power may need their vote, so will try and be as nice to them as possible whatever they might privately think (well everyone apart from Tony Abbott anyway who seems to be in self-destruct mode). And whoever is in power in a hung parliament must do deals so there is certainly a risk of a compromise too far.

But that Gillard has stepped up to indicate she has problems with this particular agenda item of the Green's though is a positive sign.

And all of the votes on this issue, most of which took place under the Howard Government, have been conscience votes on the part of both Labor and Liberal/Nationals. So I really don't think you can read anything into this.

A Canberra Observer said...

My comment may be abbreviated to this: "The PM gives her mental and public assent to the philosophical proposition that euthanasia is morally acceptable."

I can see your point regarding her comments on the legislative aspects (hopefully) meaning this proposal will be dead in the water. However I am less than thrilled with the marked philosophical 'progression' from her immediate predecessors in the (customary) office of PM.