Bill: Voluntary Euthanasia Bill (2nd Reading)


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 10:57 ): I wish to place on the record, perhaps briefly, my comments on the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill. I have spoken on previous bills that have come to this chamber on this matter, so I will allow people to read at length those contributions from 2011 if they wish to get my detailed position on all the aspects. However, just in brief, I did point out in those bills that my judgement certainly at that time on voluntary euthanasia would be tied to certain safeguards: matters to do with requiring a second opinion of the initial diagnosis, requiring informed consent and requiring a confirmation by mental health professionals that somebody was not suffering from treatable depression. This bill does not meet the safeguards that were put there. 

On other occasions, some bills have passed a second reading for contemplation of amendments in a committee stage. I remind the house that in 2011, when one of these bills was dealt with that was introduced by the then minister for health John Hill, there were amendments moved, amendments that I moved myself to those bills, that were rescinded in following weeks upon the argument that some ministers had been in meetings when those amendments were debated. Minister Hill in particular, I think, was the one who moved the rescission motion. He found that, because he was not there to present a case, not all the facts had been brought to bear. 

In the meantime, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, I think it was, wrote to all members expressing their concern that their members could not be privy to a bill or a set of amendments that would allow, in effect, a tick off for euthanasia, a tick off for suicide, as they identified it. It is a situation that I have grappled with ever since. I am grateful for the many constituents who have come to see me or who have written to me. Well over 100 people have written to me on both sides of this issue, as well as to other MPs, so I am thankful for that. 

There is another bill on the agenda at this point. Given the complexity of the committee stage last time and, given the fact that there is another bill on the agenda, for better or worse, I indicate that if there is a second reading vote on this Voluntary Euthanasia Bill then I will not be supporting it.