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Euthanasia reform requires a "coalition of the willing"



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Media Release

BOB McMULLAN MP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FRASER

TELEPHONE: (02) 6277 4803 ã FACSIMILE: (02) 6277 8496

26 March 2006

EUTHANASIA REFORM REQUIRES A “COALITION OF THE WILLING”

Australians wanting to reform the euthanasia laws need to mobilise a “coalition of the willing”, Member for Fraser, Bob McMullan, said today.

“The current laws deny all Australians not wealthy enough to travel and stay overseas to access euthanasia laws in more compassionate jurisdictions the right to control how they end their lives, even in the face of unbearable pain and suffering.

“It cannot be right that those rich enough or well-informed enough to travel to Switzerland, or buy the necessary drugs in Mexico, can control the end of their lives but those less fortunate are left to suffer.

“There is no prospect that these laws will change at the federal level until the composition of the parliament changes dramatically.

“Therefore, attention should focus on mobilising a broad coalition of support to campaign for change at a state level as the states have constitutional responsibility for most of the issues involved,” Mr McMullan said.

Addressing the AGM of the NSW Voluntary Euthanasia Society in Sydney today, Mr McMullan said such a coalition was necessary to lead the debate, take parliamentary initiatives and develop an agreed model of proposed legislation.

While there is majority community support for change, overcoming the desperate resistance of minority groups to such reform will not be easy.

But, the success of initiatives such as those in Oregon in the USA show that reform is possible if the opportunities are seized with commitment and hard work.

Media contacts: Bob McMullan 0419 189 766 Margaret Watt 0438 271 749