From 24 August, Professor Ian Olver and I will be attending a number of meetings with Tasmanian Upper and Lower House MPs to brief them in relation to the so-called Gaffney Bill. We have a meeting with the whole of the Legislative Council and with members from all parties, as well as the Independents. Please pray for us, that hearts and minds would be changed.
In July, a new group Live and Die Well was launched in Tasmania. The aim of the group is to advocate for “laws supporting better end-of-life decision making and advance care planning and for increased investment in new models of delivering palliative care in Tasmania.” It aims to expose the weakness and loose drafting of the Mike Gaffney Assisted Suicide Bill and is calling for an independent inquiry into the Bill and end of life issues, before the Bill is presented to Parliament. ACL supports this aim and call.
Live and Die Well has correctly stated that the Gaffney Assisted Suicide Bill is misleadingly entitled “End of Life Choices”, when its loose criteria mean that a person who is in no sense near the end of their life can use the legislation to end their lives, because they fear what might happen in the future. That is why the Bill is an assisted suicide Bill. That is why it is founded on hopelessness and fear.
The Gaffney Bill is now in its third (or thirteenth!) iteration. However it still will:
- Not only apply to the terminally ill but will facilitate people who are not terminally ill to suicide;
- Not only apply to people who are presently suffering but will facilitate people who are afraid of the future to suicide;
- Not require any psychiatric assessment of people before receiving the poisons but will facilitate people with undiagnosed depression to suicide;
- Not have the protections as in other state legislation but will facilitate vulnerable people to suicide;
- Not just affect others; we will all be vulnerable some day – it will affect you and your family.
This is a time for all of us who love life to stand together, pray together and work together to build a culture of life in this great state.
Please take time to contact your local Upper House and Lower House members and ask them reject the Bill and to have a proper inquiry into this complex area of End of Life legislation.