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Truth: the first casualty

By Paul Russell - posted Friday, 19 May 2017


The Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel charged by Premier Daniel Andrews with the task of developing a safe way to kill people and to help them to suicide, released its interim report yesterday.

Set up in December last year the 'expert panel' has conducted state-wide hearings and accepted submissions on precisely how to make a safe law.

The Panel's introductory discussion paper made it perfectly clear that their job was not to consider the ethical/moral concerns:

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The purpose of this consultation is to ensure that parliament may debate the merits of voluntary assisted dying through well-informed and workable legislation.

How that outcome could be considered as 'values-neutral' is beyond comprehension. Any proposition that has supposedly been vetted and designed through what I am sure will be described as a 'lengthy and thorough process' would seem to have the 'tick of approval'. The 'merit' is loaded into the outcome as Health MInister, Jill Hennessy confirmed today:

We have the very best medical and legal experts working on this to make sure that when the time comes, everyone in the Victorian parliament has the information, and assurances they need to make an informed decision about this important issue.

Note well how the panel continues to refer to 'voluntary assisted dying' rather than assisted suicide and euthanasia. As Cardinal Gerhard Müller recently observed:

The use of euphemism or obscure terminology in issues involving life and death should always alert us to an effort to hide the truth. For example, in Canadian public discourse, facilitation of suicide or even direct killing is deceptively termed "aid in dying" – a fabricated expression whose only rhetorical function is to conceal the very nature of the death-dealing action it describes.

In the 64 pages and in 29,143 words, the interim report uses the word euthanasia only once - and that in a quotation from a submission. Assisted Suicide is mentioned three times - again, only from quotations and suicide (separately); well, that's where matters become more interesting again.

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Some denominational submissions suggested it should not be called 'voluntary assisted dying' because it would obscure the role of medical practitioners in aiding suicide.

Why the mention of 'denominational'? In all of the quotes from various submissions and testimony, no mention is made about the name of the individual or organisation (given only a number), what is it about this reference that requires an identifier? It is difficult to come to any other conclusion than to observe that by the use of 'denominational' the report seeks to dismiss the concerns as being a 'religious objection' only.

The very next sentence amplifies the subterfuge:

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This article was first published on Hope.



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About the Author

Paul Russell is the Director of HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide www.noeuthanasia.org.au.


Paul is also Vice Chair of the International Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Paul Russell

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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