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Take heed Mr Guy

December 8, 2016

With the announcement by the Andrew’s government that physician assisted dying legislation will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament in 2017 Matthew Guy has expressed his intention to vote against the proposed laws, saying it is not for politicians to involve themselves in the end-of-life discussions between a person and their family.

(Here is where I shake my head in despair, and take a deep breath… )

Dear Matthew Guy,

Don’t you realise that by voting against physician assisted dying you are involving yourself in the end-of-life discussions between a person and their family?

And you are inserting not just your own personal views but the power of the state.

Your opposition means you support the ongoing threat of the state charging a terminally ill person with obtaining the drug with which they could painlessly end their life.

Your opposition means you support the ongoing threat of the state charging people, often family members, for assisting a death.

How can you as a politician justify inserting yourself and the state in these end-of-life discussions?

By your supposed logic shouldn’t you be getting out of the way? You do that by allowing, not denying, Victorians the option of a physician assisted death.

By reversing your position you can help prevent pain and suffering.

Your opposition means that because of the limitations of palliative care some Victorians will continue to suffer excruciating deaths through dehydration or starvation.

And your opposition will mean some people will continue take their own lives in violent and distressing ways, as detailed in the Coroner’s report which I hope you’ve read.

You don’t really want Victorians one to continue to die in these ways, do you?

I urge you to meet with Fiona Patten who initiated the End of Life Choices inquiry, who sat on the Legal and Social Issues committee hearing evidence and accepting submissions from experts, and who visited jurisdictions overseas where assisted dying is working well with safeguards in place. You could learn a lot.

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Oh and Mr Guy, you also stated on December 8th 2016 that the assisted dying debate was a “distraction.”

Take heed Mr Guy. The Victorians facing their own death or watching loved ones die don’t consider the debate to be a distraction and they will remember your insensitive and callous words.

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