MEDIA RELEASE Tasmanian Euthanasia Bill:A recipe for abuse!
Paul Russell, Director of HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide calls upon the Tasmanian Parliament to reject the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013 due to be debated soon in the Tasmanian House of Assembly.
“Despite assurances to the contrary, this bill is a recipe for abuse that would effectively abandon the support and protection of vulnerable Tasmanians in some circumstances,” said Mr Russell.
This risk of abuse is in the DNA of all euthanasia & assisted suicide legislation, he said. “The designers of this bill have genetically modified euthanasia and assisted suicide to the point where these terms are not even mentioned; but the reality remains that no legislation can provide the kind of protection from abuse that a just and equitable society demands.”
The modern-day phenomenon that is Elder Abuse should provide a warning. “Tasmania has a significant and growing problem with the abuse of elderly citizens by relatives and carers – usually for financial gain. The cold reality that such abuse and coercion is difficult to detect should tell us that this legislation is a recipe for the ultimate in Elder Abuse.”
The Tasmanian Bill is framed in similar terms to the Belgian Act. “The recent Belgian euthanasia death of the person who experienced a botched sex-change operation and that, earlier this year, of the twins who were going blind could technically be possible under the Tasmanian bill. “The outrage at these incidents even on the part of sections of the Belgian media and medical profession and even though these deaths were within the law should tell us that, even though legislators and the public might think of euthanasia only in terms of the ‘last days’ of a terminal illness, the practice and interpretation of the law is a genie that can’t be put back in the bottle.”
HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide Inc. is a national network of people and organisations who work to oppose euthanasia & assisted suicide legislation.
HOPE is a founding member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International based in Canada. Paul Russell is vice chair of the international body.
ENDS For further comment contact: Paul Russell Executive Director, HOPE
 The bill does mention assisted suicide but only to direct that the bill is not to use that term.