Marshall Perron’s public address after the AGM on Friday 23 August was attended by nearly 80 people and was informative and inspiring, as well as making it clear the ‘dirty tricks’ we can expect when the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is moved in Parliament before long.
Marshall demonstrated how significant his achievement was nearly 20 years ago when he had no models from anywhere to work from when he initiated and developed the world’s first voluntary euthanasia legislation, Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995. He told the story of the supportive public reaction “although in much stronger terms and more voluminous than I expected” and heart rending stories. “It was like I had scratched society and caused this great outpouring of grief and anger that had been bottled up for so long”.
Then (as now) “the major opponents were the AMA, churches and right to life groups” described by Marshall as forceful and well-funded. This also sounded depressingly familiar – “The word voluntary wasn’t in their vocabulary – euthanasia was described as murder. The AMA claimed palliative care could deal adequately with all death situations and a full page ad misrepresented the Bill shamelessly”.
And his most heart rending story of the most disgraceful behaviour – “At one stage in the campaign, persons unknown told a group of aboriginal tribal elders that if the euthanasia law was passed it would mean doctors could round up sick aborigines and kill them”!
The next newsletter will include a longer report on his address and on his valuable visit including his meetings with MPs.