Today I had what I feel was one of the most worthwhile chats to bring Choice at end of life for the terminally ill and intolerably suffering. The Prime Minister devoted a quality half hour to understanding my point of view, asking questions to further his knowledge, empathising with my personal circumstance and laying a few of his cards squarely and quite rightly on the table. So how do I do that conversation justice. I think points will be best.
- The real biggie for me was , The Prime Minister is happy to be quoted that I can be reassured that if Senator Di Natalie’s bill comes to the house it would be under terms of a free vote from his perspective.
- He and I come from different idealogical backgrounds so in his own instance he would not vote in favour,
- He feels the laws and current system offer great support but does recognise there are a lot of grey areas, yet he feels this may not be a bad thing.
- He believes law enforcement would not go out of their way to take action against someone who did exercise choice or assisted someone in those circumstances unless they were doing so in a sensationalistic way (he did say however it was his bush lawyer view).
- He has plans for a very busy 2015 taking the country forward on many fronts and at present DWD law change is not part of that agenda, unless public and parliamentarian opinion makes it so. He did say however that if there was a readiness to bring it on then it will come on. He sees some process parallels to this and the current Gay Marriage laws in terms of possibly numbers and process/support.
- He was interested in understanding what choice involved in terms of the drug, process and whether it was a drug used for other treatments. I think I added a bit to his knowledge base there.
There was a lot more to the conversation and I feel that though the Prime Minister will never be an advocate for the Di Natalie bill he will not stand in the way of democratic processes to let it run its course. The big learning here Australia is we all as individuals need to get this issue onto every parliamentarians slate for it to be on the Prime Ministers. Fair enough I say.
My job on this is still far from done but wow what a euphoric wheel to have turned. I close by saying I am invigourated by the Prime Ministers response, I found him with a great sense of humour, candour and even charisma that I have not seen on television. I am pleased having the Liberal free to vote position on this up front and centre. He felt this was always clear but somewhere I missed that as I think have most of the population, so great it is cleared up. Maybe it will be another brick in the wall of this legislative change as it should encourage discussion at many and varied tables.
From here I can ease off the politics a bit at the Federal level and work on telling the story and the need for legislative change at a national level. I do think there is also a role to be played by me in the Dying with Dignity debate in Victoria, and goal of referral of the medical treatment act to the Victorian law reform commission. There is now a considerable shift of players in Victorian upper and lower houses. Some such a Fiona Patten and the Greens together with some other influential people in the major parties have this on their agenda. Effecting change here would simply compliment the desired goal of national legislative change under the Di Natale plan.
Thanks Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making a real difference to me in my fading days, I hope you got a bit out of it as well. Peter