[Right_to_die] Australian Premier will allow conscience vote on euthanasia
World right-to-die news (nonprofit)
org.opn.lists.right-to-die at lists.opn.org
Sat May 3 09:09:35 PDT 2008
The Sydney Morning Herald reported 2 May 08:
Rudd explains why he opposes euthanasia
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd remains opposed to voluntary
euthanasia but says parliamentarians are entitled to a conscience vote
on the issue.
Euthanasia was a complex and difficult area of medicine but laws
allowing it could lead to the elderly and terminally ill thinking they
were a burden on their loved ones, he said.
The Senate is currently revisiting a decision by the previous government
to overturn the Northern Territory's euthanasia laws.
Australian Greens senator Bob Brown has introduced a private member's
bill seeking to restore the laws.
Mr Rudd, who supported the Howard government decision, said he was
opposed to the move.
"I say that as someone who has ... been in family circumstances where
you've seen people very near and dear to you, in the case of myself, my
mother, who died of cancer," he told Macquarie Radio Network.
"It's not pretty to watch but my own personal view ... these are matters
for conscience votes.
"If it becomes a mater for vote in the federal parliament, people
exercise their conscience differently. You asked me directly what my
view is, that's it."
The question of whether there would be another conscience vote on
euthanasia depended entirely on what proposals were put forward across
the country and how they impacted on the federal parliament, he said.
"All these life matters, including euthanasia, have historically been
the subject of a conscience vote on the part of our government's
members," he said. "I think I can say the same in relation to the
coalition. If one came forward, from whatever quarter, then that would
be my approach."
Mr Rudd says his opposition to euthanasia is "not some sort of abstract
ideological point of view".
"It's just my own personal view ... that if you changed the laws in this
area, I do become concerned about the way in which these things can
drift over time," he said.
"Particularly in the attitude taken by older people themselves, or
people with terminal illnesses, who then conclude that they are being an
increasing burden to their families and then conclude that it's in other
people's interests, not their own best interests, to seek euthanasia."
Mr Rudd wouldn't comment on a suggestion euthanasia was already being
practised illegally in Australia. "It's a complex area. Really hard.
People going through this trauma right now ... I don't apply any
More information about the org.opn.lists.right-to-die