Voluntary assisted dying bill
I READ with fury Eric Abetz’s opinion (The Examiner, August 11) and actually felt sorry for his naivety and ignorance when it comes to understanding what would prompt individuals to want the option of a voluntary assisted death.
His comments demonstrated Mr Abetz has never nursed a loved through a cruel disease, along with the symptoms and side-effects which come from the treatments designed to “buy more time” way before the end-stage. Mr Abetz clearly, in his capacity as a Senator, before sprouting his views, might take the time to read the evidence presented to the Victorian, Western Australian and Queensland End of Life Choices Inquiries, read the thousands of harrowing stories shared by loved ones left behind who will forever be traumatised by how their loved ones died. I am one of those individuals who will forever remain traumatised by how my parents died.
Moreover, I am one of the individuals living with a terminal illness (metastatic breast cancer). It is clear Mr Abetz has chosen not to engage with those who work on the front line in a palliative or general nursing capacity, who share the real-life experiences of end of life patients and who support assisted dying.
To refer to assisted dying as “suicide” is to insult those of us who don’t want to die but don’t have an alternative option. “Assisted dying” occurs in the setting of the love of family, friends and the compassion of society, “suicide” occurs alone, in the setting of dark desolation.
I refer to a recent statement by Mark Jarmon-Howe, CEO of the UK’s largest Hospice: “Like all fields of medicine, even the very best palliative care has its limits. That isn’t failure – it’s reality.”
Mr Abetz states “Let’s campaign for a right to live rather than a so-called ‘right to die'” – I wish Mr Abetz could accompany me to my next oncology appointment where every two months I await to see if the metastatic breast cancer in my body – currently in my lung and abdomen – has moved to my brain, my bones and other major organs. My final comment is that there is more to “life” than breathing and a pulse”.
It’s 2020 – there are kinder ways to die when the option of living is not an option for you.
Tanya Battel, Carina, Queensland.
A Tasmanian thaw deal
WITH a Tasmanian record low temperature of minus 14.2 degrees, the residents of Liawenee have earned themselves an expedited border pass to thaw out in Queensland.
Ed Sianski, West Moonah.
Getting Parliament back to work
SINCE the pandemic impacted us in March, Premier Peter Gutwein has been entrusted with a free rein and generally good bipartisan support in dealing with this unprecedented crisis. The public was prepared to place a high level of trust in his government, despite its widely-held reputation of lacking transparency. Initially, the suspension of normal parliamentary sittings was accepted, but the lack of parliamentary scrutiny has continued far too long.
Tasmania’s House of Assembly has only sat for 14 days this year, significantly less than any other state, despite there certainly being no problems with social distancing in our very small parliament. Further, unlike the other states, we have no parliamentary committee to oversee and advise on the government’s COVID response, as this was voted down by the government, despite being supported by a combined majority of Tasmanian parliamentarians. Getting Tasmania fully back to work again is obviously a much more challenging task than shutting it down was. It is imperative that parliament, too, is fully back at work to allow all our elected representatives their role in overseeing this rebuilding process, with all the necessary debate and scrutiny of government essential to democracy.
Patrick Naughtin, Sandy Bay.
Boost to Mental Health Services
THE federal government deserves to be congratulated on their decision to increase funding for mental health services.
Like our sector peers, Parents Beyond Breakup has experienced a recent marked increase in demand for our services.
The coronavirus has irrevocably impacted all our lives and for some, this has been at significant cost. During uncertainty, families may experience additional challenges. For some families, these challenges ultimately prove insurmountable, with partnerships ending. In simple terms, each year there are many more Australian kids who get to keep their parents in their lives due to our support. Any Mums or Dads experiencing breakup and in need of support, please reach out to us via phone 1300 853 437 or at www.parentsbeyondbreakup.com
Brendan Blomeley, Parents Beyond Breakup.
I HAVE volunteered over many years in different charities both here in Longford and in Launceston. I live at Longford and find it hard to find volunteer work here anymore. The local charity that had a shop closed but the community with the help of the mayor is trying to start a new charity shop and community house for the Northern Midlands. If we can get this up and running again, I would be proud to continue my volunteer work with the new charity shop.
Wayne Wells, Longford.
Rachel Williams departure
An outstanding commitment to delivering our news Rachel. Very proud of you and your family will be lucky to see more of you as we see less. I will certainly miss that smiling and friendly face.