I am a Tasmanian-born man. I have lived in Tasmania all my life. I now reside in Hobart.
I am very concerned about the negative effects of legalised euthanasia in our State.
When my mother was widowed, she came to live with my wife and me and our children. She lived with us for more than 20 years. In her old age my mother naturally became more frail and was gradually incapacitated by loss of eyesight, hearing and mobility.
One of the great challenges she faced during her later years was to accept that she was loved for who she was and not for what she could do for others. In her long life she had been very active as a wife and mother of five and as a teacher. During her time living with us she enjoyed helping our family in many ways – coaching and minding our children, doing some cooking for us and such things. As she got older, she was able to do less and less. My wife and I and our children put a lot of effort into telling her and showing her that she was loved and cherished as part of our family even when she could no longer help in these ways, and that we loved to help her then as she had so often helped us in earlier times.
I think any legalised euthanasia (which is state sanctioned suicide) would discourage many old people in the situation that my mother was at the end of her life, to think that they were useless and were a burden on others and so should end their lives by killing themselves. Not only would this attitude devalue the lives of older people, it would rob younger people of the joy of loving and helping those that were no longer as capable as they had once been and who now needed more day to day assistance.
Instead of encouraging suicide, I believe very strongly that our law-makers should be looking at assisting and enabling those who care for the elderly and the provision of good palliative care for all those who are terminally ill.