It's not suicide but it's "awful" and the same as swallowing weedkiller!
Three Ministers – the Minister for Health, the Premier, and the Attorney-General - took turns at explaining (or attempting to explain) the detailed clauses of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and defending its seaworthiness during a lengthy overnight debate on Thursday 5 to Friday 6 September 2019.
Humpty Dumpty (the Minister for Health, Roger Cook) continued his insistence that taking a lethal poison to cause one’s own death is NOT suicide because he says so in Clause 11 of his Bill and he is the master:
“this is not suicide; this is the relief of suffering at one’s hand”.
However, “If a death takes place outside the framework of this law, it will become subject to the Criminal Code and it is suicide”.
So on the Minister’s own admission the very same act – taking a lethal poison prescribed by a doctor is NOT suicide if all the right forms are lodged but is suicide if they are not all lodged correctly.
Sean L’Estrange, Member for Churchlands, exposed the faulty logic:
I understand an assumption was made in the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying discussion paper that suicide involves the tragic loss of life of a person who is otherwise not dying. The premise of that is straight-up wrong. The committee’s report states that it was provided data from the State Coroner that demonstrated that as many as 10 per cent of suicides in Western Australia each year are carried out by people who are suffering from terminal, chronic or neurological conditions; that is, people who are dying are committing suicide. In the government’s own committee report the minister’s statement that suicide is not about people who are dying has been found not to be true.
The other two men in the tub were not helping:
The Premier, Mark McGowan referred to the self-administration option under the Bill as “awful”:
there will be substances that people will need to consume, as awful as that is
The Attorney General, John Quigley, seemed to admit the equivalence between ending one’s life by taking a lethal poison under the Bill and swallowing a poison from the garden shed – except the former involves more paperwork:
So I am going to kill myself! Why bother doing that? They could go to their garden shed and swallow some weedkiller; it would still do the same thing … Why would they go through … all of that, just to get something that is going to kill them?
And out of a tautological explanation by the Minister for Health of an “enduring request” as a "request that is enduring" emerged the insight that voluntary assisted dying is enduring, or, in other words when you are dead you are dead.
The enduring request provides that the patient’s request for access to voluntary assisted dying must be enduring. This provision reflects the enduring nature of voluntary assisted dying
Debate on the detailed clauses of the Bill will recommence on Tuesday, 17 September.
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