Bunbury MLA Don Punch urges caution around language when discussing assisted dying

Assisted dying debate explored

Bunbury MLA Don Punch has urged the community to be mindful when discussing end of life choices following the release of the My Life, My Choice report. 

A parliamentary committee recommended the WA state government vote to legalise voluntary euthanasia in the report after examining the potential for assisted dying. 

Mr Punch said getting the language right was important because it went to the heart of people's values and values about living and dying.

“One of the things that is really important from my point of view is to remember that this is about enabling people to exercise a plan at the end of life and that plan may well be wanting to continue treatment, or palliative care or to die at home and leaving their affairs in order,” he said. 

“What the discussion needs to be about is, should that plan extend into making the decision that you do want to pass away and having assistance to do so in a dignified way. 

“The debate about euthanasia implies that people don't have a choice and that the choice is being made for them – the discussion paper put forward by the committee does not.”

Mr Punch said assisted dying was about providing terminally ill people with choices and to make the rules around those choices clear. 

“I think it’s unfortunate that it gets clouded by emotive words like euthanasia, which is essentially what happens when you take your pet down to the vet and it's not like that at all,” he said. 

“Clarity around what it is we're discussing has to be the first step.”