I wish to start by indicating that I will be voting against the bill. Aspects of this bill which relate to a person’s assets, financial and domestic particulars, and an individual’s wishes for the future of those particulars I fully support; however, what this bill refers to as an advance care directive also encompasses future healthcare arrangements. Essentially this can cover provisions for euthanasia, as well. This is my concern.
I do not wish to endorse, through this bill, a pathway to the future ending of one’s life, despite the fact that one point in time an individual has indicated that this is the case. As an initial point, people’s views change, and an advance care directive made at one point in time may not govern how they feel later down the track.
It is similar to an obsolete will. It has been demonstrated by the courts that the contents of a will made under the law can be picked apart and overruled. This highlights the fickle nature of these supposedly legal documents. Similarly then, I do not wish individuals in this state to have the ability to govern something as serious as the ending of their life made on the basis of a flimsy piece of paper whose legal sturdiness is currently indeterminate.
That brings me to the next point. No bill that has come before either this or the other place during my time here has ever been free of any legal complications, and personally I do not believe there ever will be. I do not wish to open a Pandora’s box when it comes to such serious matters, and therefore I have voted against most bills of this nature.
I believe in the dignity of human life, which includes those who are healthy and those who are ill, whether terminal or otherwise. At some point I am sure many in this place have faced the reality of loved ones being terminally ill, and as a result have grappled with the issue of euthanasia in their own mind. I know I certainly have. This is certainly a debate worth having but I am not willing to have it legislated by stealth in an innocuously named bill such as this. I urge my colleagues to strongly consider voting against the bill.