The Australian Care Alliance said uComms polling of 863 Tasmanians which it commissioned had shown more than 90 per cent of Tasmanians had not been consulted on what it called the “Gaffney assisted suicide bill”.
“Despite claims that there was widespread consultation, this poll shows such a claim is false,” it said.
“The myth that the public have been consulted has been debunked.”
The group’s website says it was formed in 2018 by health professionals, lawyers and activists who had opposed passage of a voluntary assisted dying bill through the Victorian parliament.
The Australian Care Alliance argues for improvements to the health system and palliative care, instead of euthanasia.
“Tasmania has some of the poorest health outcomes in Australia and the most under-resourced state health system in the country,” emergency physician and former federal AMA vice-president Stephen Parnis said.
“This includes access to palliative care.
“I find it hard to believe that instead of focussing on fixing the problems that contribute to suffering, attention is being given to legalising the means to prematurely ending Tasmanian lives.”
The group argues MPs should pause the bill’s progress and set up an independent inquiry.
Mersey independent MLC Mr Gaffney said there had been about 50 information forums across the state, including in every council area, and all Tasmanians were invited.
“The work undertaken by Dying with Dignity Tasmania and Your Choice Tas has ensured that Tasmanians are involved in this discussion and consultation period, as the 13,082 signatures in support of the VAD bill certainly attests.
“One only has to turn on the radio or pick up a paper to see just how many people are discussing their views on voluntary assisted dying.
“I’m incredibly grateful to our media for their measured and extensive coverage of the bill and, indeed, the issue.
“It is to be expected that mainland lobby groups will feel the need to engage in this debate.
“However, given that this is state legislation, for Tasmanians, by Tasmanians, it could be argued that their views and input perhaps matter little to Tasmanians.
” As I have always stated, I want this debate to remain respectful and I would once again encourage all Tasmanians to contact their members of parliament, to make certain their voices are heard.”
Tasmanian political scientist Richard Herr in February said the Gaffney bill was one of the most widely consulted ever, including through Mr Gaffney organising community forums and inviting feedback.
The uComms polling was done on the night of September 16.
The first question was: “Michael Gaffney, MLC, has introduced a bill to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia.”
“Have you taken part in Mr Gaffney’s community consultation?”
Of the respondents, 9.7 per cent said they had and 90.3 per cent said they had not.
Other questions and their results have not been released at this stage.