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Voluntary Assisted Dying vote

Thu 17 October 2013

Lara Giddings

Member for Franklin

Lara Giddings today expressed disappointment at the narrow defeat of voluntary assisted dying legislation.


Ms Giddings said while the private members bill introduced jointly with Nick McKim had not been successful, the issue would not go away.


Achieving major social change is always an incremental process,” Ms Giddings said.


The first step is to have elected representatives who are prepared to stand up for their communities and for what they believe in.


“My approach to this debate has been driven by an inherent and long-held belief that no one should be made to live with insufferable pain.


“There is no intellectual or ethical reason why, in the twenty-first century, a person should experience a death that is full of suffering and agony.


Ms Giddings said polling had shown that 80 per cent of Tasmanians, across all political allegiances, supported law reform around voluntary assisted dying.


It is my view, and the view of many experts, that the legislation defeated todaycould have operated safely and effectively in Tasmania.


“The Bill was professionally drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel following extensive research of international models and broad consultation with the community, including the medical profession.


“It is disappointing that those who sought to argue against the bill on technical drafting grounds, including the Law Society, did not seek to understand the good reasons why certain terminology was used.


Ms Giddings thanked all those who had been involved in the process including Margaret Sing from Dying with Dignity Tasmania, Professor Margaret Otlowski,Dean of the Faculty of Law, Reverend Carol Bennett from the Uniting Church and Professor Michael Ashby, Clinical Director of Palliative Care.


Ms Giddings said she was confident Voluntary Assisted Dying reform in Australia was closer as a result of this week’s debate.


“This issue will not go away while there remain people in our community for whom palliative care, no matter how good it is, does not ease their pain and suffering.”