Dissenting report opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide in Queensland, Australia

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr. Mark Robinson MP, who represents Oodgeroo in the Queensland parliament, wrote a dissenting report to the official parliamentary report on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021

Dr. Robinson’s report creates a strong basis for opposing assisted dying bill and is similar to the minority report on assisted dying written for the Western Australian parliament by the Hon Nick Goiran.

Goiran’s 248 page report was titled “ License to Care not License to Kill.”  It opposed the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide. Meticulously researched, the report documented world-wide concerns with legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Dr. Robinson’s dissenting report is 24 pages of strong arguments against euthanasia. 

Robinson first observes that the World Medical Association and the Australian Medical Association hold that physicians should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life. Therefore acts of euthanasia and assisted suicide are unethical.

Dr. Robinson then emphasizes that if proper end-of-life care and palliative care were available, there would be no demand for euthanasia. Robinson points out that the administration of poison has become an alternative to the lack of proper end-of-life care.

Dr. Robinson then quotes Dr. Philip Nitschke, also known as Australia’s Dr. Death Nitschke now believes that death should be an available option for people who are “Tired of Living.” Robinson explains that once the euthanasia genie is out of the bottle,  it doesn’t go back in. 

The flow-on affect from initial legalisation has proven to be unstoppable and irreversible once introduced. What is initially proposed as a measure to help a very small number of people, said to be in intolerable physical pain, is progressively broadened to apply to thousands of people, including those with no physical medical condition. Initial procedural safeguards are also relaxed. Once you lift the lid on Pandora’s box, there’s no going back.

Many vulnerable people experience subtle pressure to take their own life – some are made to feel almost duty bound to their family or to society to end their life prematurely. When elder abuse is combined with legalised access to the administration of life-ending poisons, it inevitably leaves the most vulnerable at risk of being coerced into ending their lives by assistance to suicide or euthanasia. This results in wrongful deaths, whereby people’s lives are taken from them without their full cognizance or consent. Wrongful deaths have followed these laws everywhere they are introduced.

Dr Robinson challenges the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill based on the following eight “Findings”:

  • Finding 1: The Bill would make it legal for one person to take the life or help end the life of another person, or to counsel or help another person to take their life. 
  • Finding 2: The BiIl would increase the number of suicides in Queensland as opposed to reducing them.
  • Finding 3: The Bill fails to ensure that only eligible people will be able to access assisted suicide or euthanasia. 
  • Finding 4: The Bill fails to ensure that patients are offered all options to manage their illness prior to the commencement of any life-ending procedure. 
  • Finding 5: The Bill fails to adequately define “suffering” to limit it to intolerable physical pain. 
  • Finding 6: The Bill provides inadequate protection to those affected by a mental illness. 
  • Finding 7: The Bill fails to protect the vulnerable from coercion and undue influence. 
  • Finding 8: The Bill fails to safeguard the vulnerable from a prolonged, complicated or painful death as a result of the administration of a poison prescribed under the Bill’s provisions.

I encourage my readers to read Dr. Robinson’s dissenting report to the Queensland Parliament. There has been much pressure to extend euthanasia to every jurisdiction in Australia. I hope  cooler heads will prevail, preventing the legalization of euthanasia in Queensland. 

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr.Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.