Death with Dignity Bill | SPEECH


Second Reading

Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 20:43 :30 ): I will be very brief, and I ask that anybody who is following these things closely turn to the comments that I made on a different bill on the same topic brought to us by the member for Ashford last sitting week.

I make no bones about the fact that I find this a very difficult topic. I believe in the sanctity of life and I believe in choice. I want people to have opportunities to do the very best they can do with their lives, in whatever context that might be. I accept wholeheartedly that some people, unfortunately, might be in a situation where they make a choice about what is best to do with their life which is different from the choice that others might make, but at the end of the day it is their life. I do find this a very difficult issue. I also make no bones about the fact that I lean away from voluntary euthanasia. I do not pretend otherwise.

What I really want to put on the record this evening is that I will vote in support of this bill at the second reading stage so that it has every opportunity to be improved. I will also say that I studied the member for Ashford’s last bill very closely, and I could not support it. I have also looked very closely at the member for Morphett’s bill, and as it stands I would not support that either. If we were asked to vote on it tonight as it is, I would not vote for it. I am not trying to be coy or lead anybody on. I lean away from this topic in general but not so strongly that I do not want to give our group of parliamentary colleagues the opportunity to improve it.

For anybody who is following this debate, whether they be campaigners on one side of the issue or the other or whether they be people in my electorate who have strong views one way or the other, I would like to put very clearly on the record the fact that I will support this bill at the second reading so that every member of parliament who would like to find a way to improve it has that opportunity, and when that has been done, we will vote on it. I will make my decision on the bill, whether it is improved or not or whatever it turns out to be, and cast my vote at that time.