Rudd: no “huge push” for euthanasia

On Friday February 12th, Kevin Rudd fielded calls from viewers of Seven network’s Sunrise program. A Melbourne woman, Debbie Williams, asked the Prime Minister the following important question;

I’d like to know what your personal view is on euthanasia, and do you think that every individual person in Australia should have the legal right to have a choice if they are terminally ill?

Rudd expressed his opposition to euthanasia and indicated that he didn’t see a “huge push” to bring the matter before the parliament in the near future.

I wrote the letter below to the Prime Minister on the 12th in relation to this answer. I’m awaiting a reply.


Dear Prime Minister,

I refer to your reported comments that there is no ‘huge push’ for voluntary euthanasia.

I urge you not to bring a closed mind to the issue of parliamentary
consideration of this important issue nor await a ‘huge push’, whatever that might mean.

There can be little doubt that a majority of Australians want legislation on voluntary euthanasia. The polling presently shows a majority in the order of 85%. Moreover, that result has persisted over many years. It does not really matter in terms of what we are discussing, whether it be 75% or 85%. The majority favouring voluntary euthanasia, in whatever of the various forms the issue has been presented to the public when polling has been carried out, has been uniformly large.

It is surely wrong to equate the immediacy of an issue with its importance. Laws concerning suicide, assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia touch on acute moral concerns of all of us. Their importance is self-evident. It is beside the point that the issue does not bring citizens to the barricades. The questions it raises are not ‘party-political’. Neither Government nor Opposition are likely to adopt a Party stance. For this reason and given the increasingly doubtful democratic legitimacy of the present law, you should I suggest facilitate Parliament dealing with this. It would be quite wrong to await a ‘huge push’ before facilitating debate on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

John Greenwell

Published in: on February 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. an excellent letter. I’m guessing that your 85% figure is the Newspoll result reported in October 2009 (

    no doubt some public servant in the PM’s department is currently wrestling with it (or wrestling with which Dept to foist it onto – AG’s perhaps?). let us know when you get a reply.

  2. Thanks Harry and for the link. Coincidentally, Gordon Brown has written an article published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald -27-28 Feb[] at page 1 of News Review in which he expresses views aong the same lines as those held by Rudd in a thoughtful piece.
    May respond to it if and when I get time

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