Read: Stephen Mullighan MP's Speech In Favour Of The SA Bill

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.

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Read: Geoff Brock MP's Speech In Favour Of The SA Bill

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.

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Read: Tom Kenyon MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

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.

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Read: Leesa Vlahos MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

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.

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Read: Tom Koutsantonis MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

November 16, 2016

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS ( West Torrens—Treasurer, Minister for Finance, Minister for State Development, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy) (21:33): 

I rise on this bill, as I have many times over my 18 years in the parliament and this, I understand is, how many attempts to legalise?

The Hon. S.W. Key: Fifteen.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: There have been 15 bills to legalise euthanasia and I have been in parliament since 1997 and every time we have had, I think, very thoughtful debates. The debates always centre around a number of issues and, predominately, those issues include whether people should suffer at the end of their lives. It is like asking 'Do you love your mother?' Of course, I do not want anyone to suffer at the end of their life.

I know that the member for Morphett—who I think is a very good and decent man and someone I have a lot of time for in this parliament—is doing what he thinks is right on behalf of people who are terminally ill. I know that he is a man of goodwill and I know that there are people who are supporting him today, such as the member for Ashford. The work the member for Ashford has done over 15 years has been done because she does not want to see anyone suffer either.

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Read: Jack Snelling MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

November 16, 2016

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING ( Playford—Minister for Health, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Health Industries) (21:04): 

Some years ago a friend of mine died quite suddenly. He was in his 60s. He was an only child whose mother had died some time earlier, and he left behind his father, who was aged in his 90s and from whom he had been estranged for many years. However, late in his life there had been a reconciliation between father and son. As he was without any other family, my family and other friends of this person adopted Robert, which was his name, as an honorary grandfather, and Robert survived my friend by two or three years.

Robert was an avowed supporter of voluntary euthanasia, and in fact had told his neighbours in the units where he lived that he had pills and that, should the time come, he would take those pills and see himself off. When he made an advanced care directive, he made it clear that should euthanasia be legalised in South Australia his express wish was that he be euthanased. He was in and out of hospital. He was very elderly and he deteriorated quickly after his son died.

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Read: David Speirs MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

16 November, 2016

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 20:53 ): 

I was not going to make a contribution tonight on this bill, having spoken at length on the previous version of the bill, but after some consideration I thought it was worthwhile putting some of my views regarding the bill and my general concerns about voluntary euthanasia in general on the public record.

I want to cover a couple of topics tonight: my concerns regarding the impact of voluntary euthanasia on the medical profession; the inevitable broadening of the legislation, which we have seen occur in other jurisdictions; the supposed popularity in the wider community of voluntary euthanasia, something that I would dispute; and the unintended impact that voluntary euthanasia could have on people who are particularly vulnerable in our society.

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Read: John Rau MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

November 16, 2016

The Hon. J.R. RAU ( Enfield—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice Reform, Minister for Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Child Protection Reform, Minister for the Public Sector, Minister for Consumer and Business Services, Minister for the City of Adelaide) (20:46): 

I will be as brief as possible on this matter because it is not very helpful for me to repeat things that have been said by others and, like the member for Bragg, I do not think there is any profit in my going through personal experiences.

I would say, though, to those who are listening to this debate today, whether they be in the parliament or whether they be elsewhere, that hopefully this debate does demonstrate one thing beyond all question: when members of parliament come to this place, from wherever they come, from whatever background they come, at important times they are prepared to bring a great deal of personal ethics, reflection and thought to the important business of the parliament.

If there is one thing that struck me from the contributions of everybody so far this evening, whether or not I agree with what they have said, it is the degree of reflection that those speakers have brought to what they have had to say, and I think it is to the credit of the parliament that in a circumstance as important as this, the parliament does not let down the people. I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of the member for Ashford, the member for Morphett and the member for Kaurna in attempting to resolve this matter into a form that is capable of being processed here in a meaningful way.

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Read: Tony Piccolo MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

November 16, 2016

The Hon. A. PICCOLO ( Light ) ( 20:16 ): 

In the 10 minutes I have to make a contribution to this very important piece of legislation, it is almost impossible to do justice to the issues and, more importantly, to the people who have made representations. However, I would like to thank all of those people who have taken the opportunity to express their views to me, whether they support the proposed legislation or not. At the outset, I acknowledge that whichever way I vote on this bill, I will disappoint some. Equally, I respect the different and at times opposing views expressed in this chamber irrespective of their moral or ethical basis. All have a valid place in our democracy. Our democracy is diminished when we try to lock out people from engaging in the public sphere.

In an endeavour to do this proposal some justice, and if for no other reason than as a sign of respect for those who have devoted many hours in bringing this matter before this chamber for our individual consideration, I have spoken with a range of people with quite diverse views. Additionally, I have tried to read widely on the topic to explore what has been the experience in other jurisdictions where some version of voluntary euthanasia exists. As I understand the issues, those supporting the bill believe consenting individuals of sound mind and who are in unbearable pain as a result of a terminal or physical illness should have the choice of ending their pain by ending their own life.

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Read: Mitch Williams MP's Speech Against The SA Bill

November 16, 2016

Mr WILLIAMS ( MacKillop ) ( 20:06 ): 

This is, indeed, a vexed question. If it were not a vexed question, it would have been resolved a long time ago. When I look at this, I look at it with the same view that I look at every matter and every question that comes before me as a legislator in this state. I ask myself, firstly: what is the ill that needs curing and is the proposed solution a reasonable and sustainable solution to that ill? When I look at what the ill is, I tell myself that nothing has changed in recent times from what we have had since time immemorial.

Unfortunately, every one of us is mortal. We all face death and we all fear it—not all, as I have known some people who have strong religious beliefs that have enabled them to face death with comfort and ease. Personally, I do not understand how they do that. I do not understand where they get that strength from because it is not something I have, but I do, to some significant amount, fear death and my own mortality. I have lived long enough to see a lot of people suffer and a lot of people die. Notwithstanding that, when I ask myself: what is the ill we need to cure? I am not convinced that we need to bring in specific legislation at this point in the history of our species to cure something which we have lived and died with forever.

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