Mersey MLC Michael Gaffney will introduce the End-Of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 into the Legislative Council on Thursday August 26.
We need to ensure that politicians do not feel targeted by email but, we know that sometimes it is hard to know where to start when sharing your views on issues that are so significant as Euthanasia.
We have developed the following steps for your ease and impact. It can be considered a guide below for writing an email to politicians in regards to the assisted suicide Bill.
PLEASE NOTE: the list at the bottom of this post includes politicians from a variety of parties and a variety of voting intentions on this bill.
DO: Take some time to draft your first email. Once you have an email that you’re happy with, rewrite this as many times as possible to as many politicians as possible!
1. Salutation (written on list of politicians table below)
2. Introduce yourself
- Say that you’re writing in regards to the End-Of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020.
3. Personal story – explain how this issue affects you. Choose one of the areas below:
- Someone living longer than predicted or they have had a return to health after being close to death and being able to enjoy more of life’s milestones such as new grandchildren, children’s weddings etc.
- Elderly/Disability – if you have a family or friend with a disability or is elderly and you are concerned that allowing euthanasia or assisted suicide would make them more vulnerable.
- Suicide – if you have seen the effects that suicide has had on a family/community. Explain that this Bill would be normalizing suicide and make it acceptable in some circumstance. Health professional – if you’re a doctor or health professional, a comment on how the role of a health professional does not align with assisted suicide.
- A health professional – if you are or have a family member who is a health professional, express your concerns about the effects this Bill would have on your or family member’s ability to deliver quality care to terminally ill patients.
4. Why oppose this Bill (choose one of the following lines of reasoning)
Support not suicide/end their pain not their life:
- Vulnerable people will be put at risk – through incorrect diagnosis, the potential for impaired capacity in decision making, people being pressured into assisted suicide.
- People with terminal illnesses are still valuable human beings, they should not be made to feel like inferior members of our society who can be disposed of when they might qualify for the eligibility criteria for this Bill.
- Safeguards are always watered down after the laws have been voted in. We know this from countries where such laws have been long established. For example, Belgium has allowed children with terminal illness to be euthanised.
- This Bill undermines suicide prevention strategies – our society should be offering people support, not suicide.
- Palliative Care provides an ethical and family friendly approach to provide pain relief and other services to ensure the best possible end-of-life care.
Health Care professional’s role is caring not killing:
- Changes the doctor/patient relationship – the role of a health care professional is to care for a patient. Euthanasia and assisted-suicide contradicts the oath ‘do no harm’.
- The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is against euthanasia and assisted-suicide.
5. Explain that this is an important issue that means a lot to you and will influence how you will vote in the next election.
TIP: KNOW THE CONTEXT
Michael Gaffney’s proposed Bill allows people to access assisted suicide who do not have a terminal illness and whose death is not foreseeable in the immediate future.
This aspect of the Bill is more radical than the legislation passed in Victoria and Western Australia.
The requirement for intolerable suffering in the Bill is very subjective and it is hard to see how anyone would not be able to satisfy this requirement if they really wanted to prematurely end their life. This is particularly concerning as Tasmania has a higher proportion of the population than elsewhere in Australia who would potentially meet the eligibility criteria of the Bill.
NOTES ABOUT LETTER WRITING
- Use emotive personal stories.
- Proofread your email before sending.
- Write one high quality email and re-write to send to as many politicians as possible.
- Make your writing as clear as possible.
- Refer to this as ‘assisted dying’ (only when mentioning the name of the bill). Say ‘assisted suicide’.
- Make claims you can’t back up
- Use religious arguments
|Name||Salutation||Electoral District||Email Address|
|The Honourable Rosemary Armitage||Dear Ms Armitage||Launcestonemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Ivan Dean||Dear Mr Dean||Windermerefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Craig Farrell||Dear President||Derwentemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Ruth Forrest||Dear Ms Forrest||Murchisonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Michael Gaffney||Dear Mr Gaffney||Merseyemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Leonie Hiscutt||Dear Ms Hiscutt||Montgomeryfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Jane Howlett||Dear Ms Howlett||Prosseremail@example.com|
|The Honourable Sarah Lovell||Dear Ms Lovell||Rumneyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Tania Rattray||Dear Ms Rattray||McIntyreemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Jo Siejka||Dear Ms Sieijka||Pembrokefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Rob Valentine||Dear Mr Valentine||Hobartemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Meg Webb||Dear Ms Webb||Nelsonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Josh Willie||Dear Mr Willie||Elwickemail@example.com|
|The Honourable Bastian Seidel||Dear Mr Seidel||Huonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honourable Jo Palmer||Dear Ms Palmer||Rosevearsemail@example.com|