Nick Goiran makes the case: No safe euthanasia law
In the lead speech opposing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 which would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide in Western Australia, the Hon Nick Goiran powerfully enunciated the case that it was impossible to create a scheme which could guarantee that there would be no wrongful deaths due to medical errors, elder abuse and patient steering and a lack of equitable access to palliative care.
In his conclusion summing up the argument he made five statements:
Firstly, the desire of a significant proportion of confident people for ready access to lethal injections ought never to override the rights of the quiet vulnerable to safety and protection.
Secondly, if we are intellectually honest and reason through the theory of a euthanasia regime, we should conclude that it is inherently unsafe. The insufficiency of the criminal justice safeguards informs us of this. The prevalence of medical negligence informs us of this. The ease of doctor shopping informs us of this. The existence of elder abuse informs us of this, and the reality of doctor bias informs us of this.
Thirdly, when we engage with the lived experience of the few jurisdictions that have legalised euthanasia or assisted suicide, we know that the theory of an inherently unsafe regime has resulted in casualties of wrongful deaths. In other words, the theory has translated into practice and wrongful deaths have ensued, and there have been casualties.
Fourthly, there is another way; there is a better way. There is a safe approach to end-of-life choices; however, it will require all of us to persistently insist that quality palliative care is made available to every Western Australian and until we, the 36 of us, have exhausted ourselves in fulfilling this duty, we should not contemplate a euthanasia regime, let alone this bill, which is more dangerous than the Victorian legislation and more dangerous than the now inoperative Northern Territory legislation.
Finally, I oppose this bill because the risks in legalised assisted suicide are simply too great, not the least of which is because the consequences are final.
Read the whole of the Hon Nick Goiran's speech here
Debate on the Bill continues with further second reading speeches.