Euthanasia just won't go away much to the chagrin of its opponents. Since being put back on the agenda by journalist Mike Carlton's recent article, other public figures have expressed their opinions while the debate goes on in broadsheets, blogs and 'Letters to the editor'. Throughout it all one thing remains clear: the politicians are still deaf to the opinion of 80% of Australians who think euthanasia should be legalised.
So, what can be done if our representatives collude to deny the constituencies they represent? Any chance of a referendum? No chance - both State and Federal governments would block such a move knowing full well a plebiscite would result in a landslide in favour of its legalisation. And even though the Greens are resolute in their support for medically assisted death, and have sought to introduce bills in parliament, the majority of MPs would vote them down even though conscience votes would free them from voting along party lines.
As this is fundamentally a moral issue one must ask why politicians' think their personal beliefs should count for more than the will of the people? Research shows that a fair proportion of parliamentarians oppose it on religious grounds; some feel it could create more problems than it solves; others believe they must protect the rights of the most vulnerable in the community - obviously they don't see the irony in that.
None of the above reasons address the wishes of the dying patient. Whose life is it anyway? What right does a government or any legislative body have to deny a terminally ill sufferer a dignified exit from the stage? Pollies don't mind sending soldiers off to unwinnable wars to meet their death but hail 'reverence for life' when it comes to those whose only wish is to choose the timing of their own end. As for politicians' religious views, I say show us your god and then we'll talk. Until then keep your religious beliefs out of politics. Period.