Thursday, November 30, 2017

Well done, Victoria!

After a rumoured 100 hours of debate, both Houses of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, have now adopted an End-of-Life Choice Bill to come into effect by 2019.

That's a huge result for this part of the world. Now we need to see how the David Seymour bill will go in the next Parliamentary term in New Zealand.

However, it is depressing to see the amount of discussion that this issue evokes. Even more depressing is that there is nothing new to be said. At a public meeting with our local electorate MP recently, I heard him trot out one or two of the risks associated with this kind of legislation as though they had never been considered. The meeting was Grey Power oldies and they didn't take too kindly to his naive and ill-informed comments.

But there was progress. A few months ago, he had declared on national TV that he hadn't made up his mind. At this meeting, when asked, he said that he had reached a point of view. As a lifelong Catholic, he was now personally against any form of shortening life. But, he said, he would "poll" his electorate when the Parliamentary vote was coming up and he would vote , not according to his conscience, but in the direction indicated by his constituents.

Funnily enough, that's exactly what every one of half a dozen candidates for Parliament said when asked for their personal views a few months ago by the same Grey Power members. But not one candidate described how they would organise this "poll". None assured us such a poll would be properly managed by a reputable profession firm. None even thought to mention that their poll would not be limited to members of their own party, or their own church or other easily accessible group. Sounds like a cop-out to me...

I'm pleased that our MP has now reached a point of conviction he can own up to in public. I don't share his view but I respect it. I certainly won't seek an audience with him to try to change his views.  And, personally, I would be happy for him to vote according to his conscience and not according to some mish-mash of a poll that might or might not represent the wide range of public opinion in any electorate.

I just want to see some action in response to the declared wishes of the vast majority of the population over several professionally managed opinion polls over a decade or more. Let's get on with the vote.

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