Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017
When you look at what is in this bill it is critical that the community believe that we here have given this the due consideration that it requires. What we want in here is some sensible and some respectable debate. But unfortunately, as we saw just before the dinner break, we are starting to lose that. That is part of the reason why we should report progress on this matter. I think there are some people who are starting to say and think some things that they probably would not say in the cool, hard light of another day. It is reasonable that we get a full debate on these matters.
It is a very significant issue; it is a very important issue. I do not believe there would be one person in this chamber, either in the gallery or sitting in here as a member, who would disagree that this is a critically important issue and it should be given every consideration. It does not matter how long we are here to do that. We can do it on another day. We should give it the appropriate time that it needs for us to consider these issues to the absolutely fullest extent.
If you look at what happened down in the other house, they debated it for 26 hours. That is a long time. I must say that even Daniel Andrews, the Premier, did not shut it down. Mr Jennings, I am actually a bit disappointed in you, I must say. I think that when you write your book in years to come you will be disappointed that you actually made that move to shut this down, because you will actually say, 'An issue such as this should have been given due consideration, and I actually wish that I didn't shut that down and let it go for an extra couple of hours if that was what it took to get through every element of this piece of legislation'. Mr Jennings, even you will suggest that this is a significant issue and should be given full consideration.
It is true to say that we have got another 139 clauses and a schedule to go, but that is fine; we will talk about the specifics of what is in each one of those particular clauses. But as we all know, the purposes of the bill, clause 1, is fairly open-ended. There have been a whole range of conversations on a whole range of issues, and there is no doubt that some of them have gone on for a number of hours, particularly around palliative care. But there are other issues that did not even get touched on.
As we have heard from other members, there are people who have not even made a contribution on clause 1 and who were waiting patiently for their turn. There have been a lot of conversations and a lot of comment and, as we know, people have gone into a lot of detail in relation to some of those elements in terms of the purposes of the bill. And I think that is fair enough. I do not think any of us in this room would suggest that someone who has got questions on these issues should not get the fullest opportunity to ask those questions to the minister. What we already do know about the minister is that the minister does give fulsome answers to the questions that we do ask on this side of the house. I think that that is something that he would take as a matter of pride, the fact that he does give very fulsome answers to questions that get raised.
So I think it is absolutely critical that we are able to take stock now, come back tomorrow when everyone is a bit fresher — it has been a long week — so we can consider everything that has happened today. Come back tomorrow, and on a Friday we can have some sensible, respectful debate in relation to these particular issues. This is a significant bill. If it does get passed, it will be the first time that it would have got up in the Westminster system of democracy. In terms of something as significant as that, we need to make absolutely sure that we get the absolutely greatest respect that we can.