What do Tasmanian doctors think of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013? The simple and accurate answer is – nobody knows. There are plenty of opinions but all based on anecdotal and inadequate evidence. In the debate tomorrow (16 October), no-one will be able to say with any confidence what the views are.
Yesterday we sent this letter – DwDTas Letter to Tasmanian MPs re opinion poll and doctors views – to all House of Assembly MPs. (There were some variations in the letter. This one contains the figure for the percentage of Liberal voters who supported it – 74%.) We told them that we had asked AMA Tasmania as long ago as March what soundly based evidence it had about the views of its members and, if they did not have any such evidence, to take action to have a properly conducted survey done so that members may indicate their views. To the best of our knowledge, no such survey has been conducted.
A new group has popped up in the last day called “Doctors Opposed to Euthanasia”. We don’t know how many members it has and, presumably they are non-AMA members or their views would already be represented by AMA Tasmania. We don’t know what percentage of doctors in Tasmania are members of AMA and understand it could be as low as 30% if it is in line with the national picture. (Source: MJA Insight, 28 May 2012)
The letter also provided the updated community support information – 80% overall, 62% strongly supporting a change in the law as provided for in the Bill, 9% strongly opposed and 6% somewhat opposed. The question remains why are some MPs – at this stage every Liberal MP in the House of Assembly – listening only to the 9% and not to the 80%? After the vote we will let you know who they are so you can take this into account when you vote in the State election next year.