By Jake Dietsch
The chances of euthanasia being legalised are stronger than ever under the new McGowan WA Labor government.
Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan and Greens MP Robin Chapple are working on a euthanasia bill to be introduced in the next term of parliament.
No one is more relieved about these developments than Cottesloe resident Murray Hindle, who has been advocating for reform since 1990.
He began fighting for voluntary euthanasia after watching his father die slowly of prostate cancer, despite pleading for assisted suicide.
Mr Hindle, president of Dying with Dignity WA, believes that with the Greens, One Nation and large sections of the Labor Party in support of the proposed bill, assisted dying may soon be a reality.
“It’s gaining momentum,” Mr Hindle says.
“We will be assisting [the supporting MPs] where we can.
“We’ll be contacting politicians, writing to them and visiting them.”
Right to Life spokesperson Dr Katrina Haller has vowed her organisation will fight any attempts to legalise euthanasia.
“In those few countries that have legalised it … we are now seeing euthanasia of children… [and] euthanasia of people with autism,” Dr Haller says.
“Euthanasia is patient killing; we say kill the pain not the patient.”
Mr Hindle rejects claims of children being euthanised as ‘’nonsense’’.
“The checks and balances will allow any irregularities to be sorted out before the bill is prepared,” he says. “In Australia we would expect the legislation would cover people who have twelve months or less to live, and it’s by their choice.”
Mr Hindle, whose organisation has about 700 members, believes religious lobbying prevented the previous Liberal government from legalising euthanasia.
However, with Labor’s huge majority, Mr Hindle believes lobbyists would be largely irrelevant.