Tasmanians ready to fight coming euthanasia push

I recently spent four days visiting supporters, local leaders and friendly politicians in Tasmania to discuss the upcoming euthanasia legislation and to encourage people to get active and organised. Whilst I was in the beautiful city of Hobart, Premier Lara Giddings announced that euthanasia legislation would be held off until late in the year.  She also suggested that, at that time, a consultation might precede the bill.This is surely good news for a state facing significant other hurdles not the least of which is how to manage their significant budget deficit.  Playing around with social agenda in such circumstances could be seen as 'fiddling while Rome burns' as they say.

In all of my meetings, including the public meeting with over 100 supporters, it was evident to me that the spectre of another push for euthanasia has concerned many Tasmanians for quite a long time.  The presentation of how HOPE achieved a win in South Australia against the odds clearly helped; as did the explanation of the lessons that can be repeated to see a similar outcome in Tasmania.

Talking after the public meeting on the Tuesday night I know that people realise that there will need to be an effort made even greater than the excellent work in 2009 that saw off the McKim bill.  The great news is that there are groups of people from different backgrounds and circumstances already planning particular responses of their own for when the bill appears.

Into this situation HOPE comes not so much as a spearhead but as a grassroots action by supporting letter writing initiatives across the State through existing networks and local Churches.  To that end I encourage all Tasmanians to get active now in preparation for the bill.

The best way you can help right now is to register on the HOPE website (www.noeuthanasia.org.au) and to write to your local Lower House MPs.  (See Tasmanian page on the website under 'Current Campaigns')

As the issue develops, HOPE will keep you informed of what's going on.  Yes, we'll be asking you to 'go the extra mile' to help (I think you probably guessed as much), and HOPE will support your efforts all the way through to a memorable (and absolutely necessary) victory.

My thanks to everyone I met in Tasmania and to all those who helped make the visit a success.  Special thanks to Noel and Betty Roberts for hosting the visit and for looking after me in every way.