By Wesley J. Smith
Editor’s note. This appeared yesterday on Wesley’s great blog at http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2011/03/20/australian-pm-cold-to-legalizing-euthanasia/
When I toured Australia last July, euthanasia legalization threats were pending or threatened in the parliaments of Western Australia, Southern Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and perhaps most worryingly, Tasmania. So far, all have been defeated or are not an immediate likelihood. There was also a national election ongoing during my two weeks there, and the winner in an extremely close race was the sitting PM, Julia Gillard.
During the time I was there, I learned that Gillard is an open atheist, that she lives with her hairdresser boyfriend, and that she came out of the left wing of the Labour Party. I only bring the atheism and apparent social liberalism up because we are often told by euthanasia proponents that only right wing religious fundamentalists oppose legalizing euthanasia–which has never been true, but it sometimes works as an advocacy approach, such as in the Netherlands. (Only religious fundamentalists oppose, so to prove you are not a religious fundamentalist, you had better support.)
But that meme won’t hunt Down-Under now that Gillard has concluded she does not want a law legalizing euthanasia. From an editorial in The Australian:
On euthanasia, Ms Gillard was sympathetic to those people who “may want that choice”. But she rejected the argument. She had “never been able to satisfy myself” that the policy of the pro-euthanasia advocates contained “sufficient safeguards”. Her concern is that euthanasia laws “open the door to exploitation and perhaps callousness towards people in the end stage of life.” It is an important comment. At a time when support for euthanasia is growing in some state ALP governments, Ms Gillard has sounded a clear warning against it.
The Greens are the driving force behind euthanasia in Australia. Labour and the Greens are in coalition nationally and in Tasmania. Julia Gillard is standing in their way on this issue. Good for her.