“It’s tragic that once again doctor-assisted suicide is legal in part of Australia, and we will strongly contend against any push for similar assisted-killing laws here,” Cherish Life Queensland president, Dr Donna Purcell said today.
“Victoria’s so-called Voluntary Assisted Dying laws have the pretence of being safe, with 68 apparent safeguards – but in reality there is no protection from wrongful deaths. The VAD law is extremely dangerous.
“The requirement for a two doctor approval is farcical, as two General Practitioners, neither one of whom needs to be the patients’ regular GP, can sign-off on VAD. There is no requirement for either of the doctors to be a specialist in the area of the patient’s suffering (e.g. an oncologist for cancer patients), and there is no requirement for the patient to be seen by a psychiatrist – which is crucial. Proper mental health checks are extremely important as depression can be a very big problem amongst the elderly, terminally ill and disabled – and can lead to strong feelings of hopelessness and wanting to die.
“Also, there is no requirement for the patient to first consult with a palliative care specialist to be informed of what pain relief can be offered.
“Of particular concern is that the only recommendation which came out of the Victorian End of Life Inquiry that has been fully enacted was the legalisation of VAD. The recommendation to boostthe palliative care budget was effectively ignored. The Victorian overall annual palliative care budget of around $120 millionhas not been increased in the last four years – in real terms it has actually decreased by 4% in this period.
“The Queensland Parliament is conducting a similar end-of life-inquiry with VAD in the mix. One of the most startling things that has come of this inquiry so far is that Queensland has a terrible shortage of palliative care specialists, particularly in the regions.
“With our population there should be 92 full-time palliative care specialists, but we only have 38.4. People are suffering needlessly because of mismanagement and poor resource allocation by the Queensland Government.
“Doctor are meant to be healers not killers. Doctors should kill the pain and not the patient. Euthanasia advocates give the false impression that terminally ill patients have to suffer excruciating pain and dreadful agony. This is simply not the case, as the advanced palliative care available today means that every Australian can have the hope of a tolerable dying process.
“Palliative care focuses on relieving pain and keeping patients comfortable in order to allow a natural and dignified death at their appointed time. In the rare cases where the patient is not responding to painkillers palliative sedation can be applied. Good medical practice is all about facilitating natural death with dignity and peace. This is the complete opposite to intentional killing - which is exactly what VAD is,” Dr Purcell said.
Cherish Life has criticised federal Labor for slurring its federal election Put Labor Last campaign as “lies”.
The Guardian, “Labor condemns anti-abortion group's claims 'babies will die under Shorten government'”, 9 May, 2019
The Blue Mountains Gazette, “Queensland anti-abortion group targets Labor in Macquarie”, 13 May
The Feed, SBS, “The Worst of Election Material”, 25 May
Sky News, Husic points to misrepresentation of abortion policy for Labor vote loss, 30 May
SMH/ Sun-Herald, "Labor women bracing to defend party abortion platform", 2 June 2019
“For Labor say our campaign was built on ‘baseless lies’ is a lie itself, and offensive.” Ms Teeshan Johnson, executive director of Cherish Life Queensland said.
“Our messaging and campaign was truthful.
“All our advertising (TV, radio, print & digital), which contained the same messaging as our flyers, passed teams of independent lawyers at the various media outlets, as we were able to prove every statement.
- Our campaign TV ad obtained CAD approval and was given a G rating for free-to-air TV - it subsequently aired on Channel 7 and Channel 10 WIN,
- Our campaign radio ad played on several ARN and Grand Brothers radio stations,
- Our newspaper ads were printed in 8 different News Corp papers, and one Seven West Media paper; and
- Our digital media ads featured on News Corp platforms in Qld.
(PROOF OF MESSAGING STATEMENTS IN APPENDIX BELOW)
“Labor is evidently angry they lost the election, but this doesn’t excuse them lashing out at us. They need to take responsibility for their own policies.
“Such an extreme abortion agenda was always going to cost Labor - letting voters know the facts of a party’s radical abortion plans is part of Cherish Life’s duty as a pro-life organisation.
“If Labor want us to leave them alone they need to change their commitment to radical abortion reform. The hijacking of a once noble political party by the abortion lobby is one of Australia’s great political tragedies.” Ms Johnson said.
Appendix: Proof of Messaging Statements
“More babies would die under a Bill Shorten Labor Government” and “More babies would die under Labor.”
When the Victorian Labor government passed the Abortion Reform Act (2008), which effectively legalised abortion up to birth for any reason, it led to an average annual increase of 39% increase in late-term (post 20 weeks gestation) terminations [including a full-term healthy baby of a healthy woman in 2011 (refer to table on page 162)]. It is logical that removing all restraints to abortion in other states and territories would also lead to an increase in late-term abortions.
- “Federal Labor has an extreme late-term abortion agenda” & “Abortion would be legal until birth for any reason, around Australia.”
Catherine King MP and Tanya Plibersek MP, who crafted federal Labor’s abortion policy, are on record as saying some of the intent of Labor’s federal election 2019 abortion policy was to improve access to abortion around Australia as well as "fix" the “patchwork ofinconsistent [abortion] laws” (i.e. standardise abortion laws) across Australia. Australia’s abortion laws are different from state to state – the states/ territories with the most permissible laws being ACT followed by Victoria and Qld. These three states have legalised late-term abortion, up to birth, for any reason. Given the two initiatives of (i) wanting to standardise abortion laws across Australia and (ii) wanting to increase abortion access around Australia, other states and territories would have been pressured to implement abortion laws / abortion access modelled on ACT’s laws or those of Victoria/Qld.
- “Free abortions at public hospitals”
Labor made it crystal clear they would pressure states, through the threat of withholding commonwealth health funding, to fully decriminalise abortion (NSW / SA), improve access to abortion and to provide funding for “free” abortions at taxpayer-funded hospitals.
- “More women would be harmed under Labor”
The physical and psychological risks of abortion to women are well-documented in numerous studies from around the world. Just one tragic statistic is that a woman who has had an abortion is 6 times more likely to commit suicide.
- “If Labor wins it will be a public health disaster”
Given points 1-4, it’s clear such an extreme federal government-imposed abortion regime would have been a public health disaster, including putting extra pressure on our already busy hospitals.
More sources can be found at www.laborlast.org.au. For details on the national Put Labor Last campaign, please see our previous media release.