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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tasmania's Liberal Party, in opposition, is freaking out because a voluntary euthanasia bill has been proposed for introduction into the state Parliament. Tasmania is governed by a coalition of the Greens and Labor. The bill is being proposed by Labor Attorney-General Lara Giddings.

Giddings crossed the floor in November, before the election that ushered in the coalition, to vote for a private member's bill introduced by the Greens leader Nick McKim that would have made voluntary euthanasia an option for Tasmanians.

Now, she says she supported the bill "on principle" and says her new bill will be different in its details.

The Hobart Mercury, a News Ltd tabloid, couldn't resist labelling the agreement that would be reached between a doctor and a patient under the rules of the embryonic legislation a "pact", echoing hysterical language used by conservatives in the US during the debate about health care reform. A "pact" is a word generally used to describe agreements between young people who collectively decide to kill themselves, and the word shows up the conservative agenda of the newspaper.

Mainland newspapers have yet to focus on the Tasmanian plan to introduce a voluntary euthanasia bill. Voluntary euthanasia used to be legal in the Northern Territory before Prime Minister John Howard overruled the legislature there several years ago, making it illegal.

Conservative politicians, such as those in the Liberal Party, are on principle against progressive legislation, such as voluntary euthanasia.

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