Euthanasia lobbyists push for limited debate

Not satisfied with denying the people of NSW a proper public inquiry, having a shortened parliamentary committee process and additional sitting days to push Alex Greenwich’s extreme euthanasia and assisted suicide bill through the NSW Legislative Assembly, pro-euthanasia and asssisted suicide in NSW parliament are now hoping to circumvent the Legislative Council’s role as a ‘house of review’.

The end-of-life choices inquiry in Victoria ran for 13 months and included 17 days of public hearings. A similar inquiry in Western Australia took 12 months and had 15 days of public hearings. In Queensland and South Australia, the inquiries ran for 18 months, with 19 and 5 days of public hearings, respectively.

The people of NSW were given a four-month inquiry and four days of public hearings, the shortest of any jurisdiction.

This contracted time period is still too long for some euthanasia pushers, with a renewed effort to limit debate (and scrutiny) even further.

According to The Australian, Independent MP Greg Piper, one of the main proponents of the Greenwich bill, expressed hope that the bill would be passed by the end of May, but that there was a possibility “people can filibuster”.

Given that there is only three hours of debate allocated to private members’ bills during May, it is not clear how Mr Piper is able to conclude that a failure to conclude the second reading and amendment debates in three hours is ‘filibustering’. Surely a more appropriate characterisation would be that the passage of legislation that would change the homicide laws to allow the killing of one person by another in certain circumstances without fulsome debate would be a negligent abandonment of the parliamentary process.

But Mr Piper’s odd claims didn’t end there. He also described the Greenwich bill as “the most conservative such legislation out of any of the Australian states,” an assertion that is demonstrably false. Victoria’s legislation requires one of the doctors signing off on a patient’s death to specialise in the illness they are suffering. It also forbids doctors from suggesting euthanasia to their patients. These have been dispensed with in the Greenwich bill.

The extreme nature of the Greenwich bill is even more apparent when compared with the Khan bill, rejected by the Legislative Council in 2017.

It’s not only politicians pushing for MLCs to bend parliamentary processes in order to shove euthanasia through.

The NSW Doctors Reform Society are arguing that the euthanasia and assisted suicide bill should be allowed extra debate time, in effect prioritising it over other parliamentary business.

Labelling those who are suggesting the Legislative Council undertake its solemn responsibility to thoroughly examine legislation put before it as acting in bad faith is a thinly-veiled attempt to subvert parliamentary processes. Hopefully, no one will be fooled.