The Hon. Jill Hennessy
Minister for Health
13 September 2016
The Rationalist Society of Australia congratulates you and the Andrews Government for introducing the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill to give legal recognition to advance care directives in Victoria.
This welcome development has been a policy aspiration of the Rationalist Society for many years. Our 10 Point Plan for a Secular Australia includes the following:
Guaranteed control over one's own body, free from religious interference, when facing the end of life
- ‘Advance directives’ should be given legal force.
- Physician-assisted suicide, with appropriate safeguards, should be decriminalised.
- Governments should fund non-religious palliative care services.[space height="30"]
So while this is a welcome development, it does not yet meet all of our objectives. In particular we strongly encourage you and your colleagues to ensure the Government's response to the End of Life Choices Inquiry includes legislation to enable voluntary assisted dying. As you would be well aware, the vast majority of voters in this State (and others) have expressed their desire for such reform for many years, only to be frustrated in various parliaments by religious conservatives. It is time for the people to have their wishes fulfilled!
We also urge the Government, when considering resource allocation for palliative care services, to make sure there are more non-religious services to counter the dominance of religious agencies in this field.
Dr Meredith Doig
Rationalist Society of Australia