Greens commend Dying with Dignity debate

Central Coast Greens have commended Gosford Politics in the Pub for putting on a timely debate over Dying with Dignity at Dutton’s Hotel on Thursday, June 27.

Central Coast Greens spokesperson Mr Doug Williamson said: “This is an issue of real importance to many residents of the Central Coast which has been avoided and/or subverted by our political leaders for too long.” “Despite reassurances from the previous Liberal National Party government of increased resources for palliative care following the overturning of the world leading Northern Territory legislation, we have seen no extra funding provided for this essential medical service within our state health systems.

“This situation has been further exacerbated by the recent federal budget cuts to the States’ funding. “Additionally, legislation which was introduced into the NSW Legislative Council by the Greens last year, which would have enabled dying with dignity for our lovers, partners, family members and friends, was defeated through the inability of both the Labor and Liberal parties to govern for those whose final wish is only to end their life painlessly in the company of those dearest to them.

“Now, a person with a painful or debilitating condition wishing to end their life is forced to use unreliable methods or be forced to break the law by smuggling controlled substances into the country for later use. “Even then, should they be discovered before death and irrespective of any End-of-Life directives holding no legal status in such a situation, medical ethics demand that attempts should be made to revive the person. “But back to what sort of existence?

“The only legal option available to Australians is to travel to Switzerland or the Netherlands to engage the services of the humanitarian aid organisation Dignitas. “Those who saw the recent television documentary on this organisation could have only been impressed with the intelligent and dignified services they provide for people and the numerous checks and balances which are in place under Swiss law to prevent inappropriate deaths from occurring.

“It was inspiring to read the words of Peter Short, a 57-year-old father with inoperable and terminal oesophageal cancer, who said of medically assisted, or physician-assisted death: `This is not a legal, religious, moral, budgetary or bioethical issue for me, nor do I suggest it should be for you, it is simply about common sense, and compassion for people suffering physically, psychologically and existentially.'”

Media release, 2 Jul 2014
Kate da Costa,
Central Coast Greens