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The right to die

By David Leyonhjelm - posted Monday, 6 August 2018


No one could argue he had anything but full mental capacity. Just hours before his death he made a point of correcting the Swiss clinic's paperwork that erroneously stated he wished to end his life due to illness.

It was an important point to make. Even when Victoria's legislation comes into force next year, Professor Goodall would not have qualified for voluntary assisted dying in that state.

The Andrews Bill has been law for more than two decades with no attempts made to repeal it, even when we had an atheist Labor Prime Minister and the Greens had the balance of power in the Senate.

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My Assisted Suicide Bill, which seeks to overturn the Andrews Bill, has been on the Notice Paper since 2015.

Close to two years ago Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull guaranteed my private bill a full debate and vote in both houses. It took some negotiation to get this deal, and further cajoling and threats to get it delivered. Some parties talk about what they hope to achieve, but don't do what is necessary to make it happen. The Liberal Democrats are willing to use what little power we have for good.

According to 2016 Census data, almost one third of Australians now classify themselves as having no religion.

If your religious convictions tell you the idea of taking your own life is inconceivable, then the obvious response is to not avail yourself of this choice. But you should not make decisions for others who harbour no such convictions and believe they should not be forced to endure insufferable pain to protect your religious beliefs.

I look forward to the Andrews bill being repealed soon. Its time is up. It should not have been allowed to sit on the statute book, and to cause unnecessary suffering for Australians, for this long.

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This article was first published by the Australian Financial Review.



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About the Author

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrat Senator for NSW.

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