November 16, 2016
Ms COOK ( Fisher ) ( 21:45 ):
I rise with pride to speak in support of the Death with Dignity Bill. This has weighed very heavily on me for some time now in parliament under the previous iteration presented by the member for Ashford as a voluntary euthanasia bill. I have not prepared a speech. I thought what I would do is run through some of the things that I have been presented over the past 12 months by people in my electorate—people statewide, nationwide and internationally—and how I have managed to use my own thought processes and my experience through my nursing of over 30 years—yes, over 30 years is a long time—with patients in various types of settings.
One of the settings that comes to mind has done so because of the member for Elder's heartfelt contribution. For some years, I looked after people in an institution who were profoundly disabled. Not all people who are disabled have a deficit with their cognitive ability to rationalise where they want to be on this earth either. Many of them are profoundly physically disabled because of an illness or a degenerative medical condition which leaves them in a situation where they cannot care for themselves.
I could stand here and give you a very specific and colourful description of the reality of what their space is in a bed where they can do nothing for themselves anymore but lie there. They cannot use their bowels themselves and they cannot even do that lying in bed. They have to be elevated up into a position of gravity so that it helps to force this from their stomach. My point of telling you that colourful description, which I hope you can get out of your head before you go home, is that dignity is subjective. Pride is subjective. Suffering is subjective.Read more
Ms WORTLEY ( Torrens ) ( 21:44 ): Tonight, we have heard from so many in this chamber from both sides of the voluntary euthanasia bill debate. I have read the many letters I have received, both for and against, from members of my community. I have spoken to so many of my constituents—health professionals, doctors, nurses, carers, members of community sports clubs, Rotary, Neighbourhood Watch groups, my family and extended family, and advocates from so many representative groups—both for and against voluntary euthanasia.
Like everyone here, I bring my own personal experiences. I have read the many articles written with great passion by those on both sides of the debate. I have discussed the bill with colleagues on both sides and spent many hours considering the previous bill and the one we now have before us. Whatever the outcome of this debate, the decision we make must not be one that puts vulnerable people at risk. The previous bill I could not support. Tonight, I will support this bill through the second reading and consider the amendments and the impact on the final bill.
November 16, 2016
Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 21:31 ):
I would like to add to this debate and say that I listened very closely to my community on this issue. I have listened to both sides of the argument, and I thank the people that have contacted me about this. I have also listened to the people who have spoken in this place on this bill. I was here until the close last night, and again I have listened to what everyone has had to say this evening, and I thank them for their contributions. What I would say on the previous bill put forward by the member for Ashford is that I would not have supported it through the second reading stage, but I have been engaged in listening to what people have had to say on this bill.
I think this is the toughest decision that we will have to make in this place and obviously it is not one to be taken lightly. I have imagined someone with a terminal illness that would be confronted by this issue that we have before us and what they might be thinking. I have also had strong consideration for the vulnerable—someone who is alone and not with the loving support that most of us here in this place would have—and how they might also confront this issue.Read more
November 16, 2016
Mr PICTON ( Kaurna ) ( 21:21 ):
There is no doubt that the policies and laws regarding the end of life are very important but also very difficult issues for parliament and individuals to deal with. It is a melting pot of ethics, spirituality, choice, care, risk and fear. There is a variety of views and perspectives and almost all of them are valid.
I have heard from many people in my electorate who have contacted me about this issue. They are mostly very passionate either for or against this bill. I have closely considered the opinion of each of those constituents and also met with them if they wanted to be heard to discuss their concerns directly. I have also met and listened to people from both sides of the argument and I have tried to seek out some of the opinions of doctors, nurses and other experts in this area who do not have an ideological view to push.
This issue, perhaps more than any other, is for many people a black or white, yes or no question. I can understand that viewpoint but I believe that there are many areas of grey. There are people who would support or oppose a euthanasia bill without concern for the drafting. I am not one of those people. The initial bill that we were asked to consider on this subject was not fit for purpose in my opinion. If it is put to a vote, since it is still on the Notice Paper, I would be unable to support that bill in any way.Read more
November 16, 2016
Ms DIGANCE ( Elder ) ( 21:14 ):
I rise tonight to share reflections on this bill from which many complex conversations and considerations have arisen. These issues and considerations are, rightly so, compounded by deep belief and deep emotion and, for many, profound conviction. I acknowledge the ultimate outcome of this bill being to facilitate an imminent passing as chosen by an individual, enabled through a process of a very personal deed of an individual acting on their own wishes.
In the main, the bill before us proposes a framework of laws to guide and enable a compassionate society on a journey. This bill is unique as it asks all parliamentarians to face issues of mortality, ethics and values, while balancing the wishes of differing viewpoints in the community. It asks every MP—all of us—to reflect, debate and challenge our role, representation and beliefs, while challenging a dialogue of a civilised, mature and compassionate society.
I thank those who have driven this process on both sides of the debate for their dedication and commitment, and also those in this place for the conviction and work on the voluntary euthanasia bill over the years; namely, the late Dr Bob Such and the current members for Ashford and Morphett.Read more
November 16, 2016
Ms CHAPMAN ( Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (20:36):
I rise to speak on the Death with Dignity Bill 2016. Whilst I think it is rather a misnomer of description of what we are about to do, I indicate that unlike all preceding bills in the time I have been in the parliament that have offered this sanction and protection, I will be supporting the second reading. I indicate to you that, whilst the detail has been outlined by a number of members, to me, the thing that is impressive and distinctive about this bill is the proposal to reform our current laws.
Firstly, it allows adults of sound mind to formally request that their suffering be ended at a time of their choosing. Secondly, it ensures that the participation in the making of that request for voluntary euthanasia and the administration of the same be in accordance with strict requirements so as not to amount to a criminal offence or cause a person to suffer any other discrimination or liability. Thirdly, it ensures that the participation in the administration of the voluntary euthanasia in accordance with the rules is not to amount to a criminal offence itself. Finally, it protects those persons who decline to be involved in the making of requests for and the administration of voluntary euthanasia.Read more
November 16, 2016
The Hon. S.C. MULLIGHAN ( Lee—Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Minister for Housing and Urban Development) (20:27):
I start by congratulating the member for Morphett on introducing this bill. It is a bill which responds to a lot of the concerns that a broad cross-section of members had with the other bill that was before this parliament, introduced by the member for Ashford. This bill, the member for Morphett's bill, is, in my view, far closer to the community's conception of voluntary euthanasia than the previous bill from the member for Ashford.
This bill deals with the scenario of a terminally ill person, suffering intolerably, being able to request that their life be ended earlier than might otherwise occur from the ongoing deterioration of their physical health. This bill is clear that this person must have exhausted all medical treatments as well as palliative care options. This bill establishes a detailed regime for the making of a request for voluntary euthanasia, including a regime of medical assessments, psychiatric assessments, witnessing and a revocation of a request.
This bill also sets out how voluntary euthanasia is to be administered, a protection from liability, prescribing the appropriate cause of death on a death certificate, a reporting regime and a control regime for the administration, prescription and storage of drugs. It seeks, in some detail, to address the risks that are present in the existence of such a regime. My understanding is that this bill is an amalgam of other legislative instruments in effect in other international jurisdictions. This bill has the benefit of selecting those parts of those laws that attempt to best reflect the South Australian community's expectations when it comes to a regime for voluntary euthanasia.Read more
November 16, 2016
The Hon. G.G. BROCK ( Frome—Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government) (19:50):
I would also like to contribute to the Death with Dignity Bill 2016. I have to make it quite clear from the start that this is a bill I would prefer not to have to vote on, but we as legislators have to consider what is the best for our electorates. Whichever way we vote in this house we will not please everybody. This is an issue that is deep in my heart as well as of others here, and I know from people I have spoken to that this weighs heavy on their hearts.
As we are aware, this subject has had many attempts to pass through the parliament of South Australia but it has not, to my knowledge, been successful in getting to the committee stage. The late Bob Such, bless his soul, was very passionate about this subject, as were other members in this chamber, current and past.
As members in this place we have a conscience vote on this issue, which means we can vote whichever way we consider is the best direction, moving forward, for our electorates in particular. When voting on such an issue we, as legislators, should and must consider the points of view of our electors but, even in doing this, we will never have 100 per cent in favour of whatever decision we make. Everyone has their personal, religious and various other views and I totally respect those views, as we in this chamber should respect each other's views when we are voting.Read more
November 16, 2016
The Hon. T.R. KENYON ( Newland ) ( 21:57 ):
I do not think anyone in this chamber, even those in the gallery, will be surprised by my position on this bill. I should take a moment to thank members of the public in the gallery, all the galleries, for coming in. Looking up there, I think I probably agree with about a third of you and disagree with about two-thirds of you, but you have made the effort to come in, you are playing your part in democracy, you are a participant in our democracy and I wish there was more of it, so thank you.
I start my opposition to the bill and to euthanasia in general because I should make very clear that I will not be voting at the second reading and I will not be voting for this bill at the third reading; in fact, there is no bill that I would vote for because I have a fundamental opposition to euthanasia. It is partly informed by my faith—I have never been afraid to admit that—but not perhaps in the way people would expect. It is more in the way my faith informs my view of human nature.Read more
November 16, 2016
The Hon. L.A. VLAHOS ( Taylor—Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse) (21:41):
I had not planned on speaking tonight. I heard many speeches while I have been sitting in my room upstairs after the break. When I came to this place in 2010, I came to this place being pro euthanasia. Over that time, I have changed my story. I remember listening to another member in the chamber yesterday talking about his journey in this space. I came from the nineties thinking that it was the right thing to do, having been a coder dealing with death certificates and cancer registration, living next to a morgue in a hospital, regularly going up and down with bodies in bags and knowing the smell of death in cancer wards.
I thought that it would be merciful to let people end their life simply and have a way out. However, as a legislator, the more I have dug into this topic the more I have grave concerns for the many frail and vulnerable people I have met in the course of my duties as a normal MP in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. Through oncologists, I have been spoken to about when families are affecting the decision-making of frail and vulnerable people. I listened to the guilt and turmoil the member for Elder spoke about before with the woman who was frail and ill.Read more