An appropriate time

posted in: Life and things | 0

The Queensland parliament finally passed a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill this week, the fifth of the six Australian states to do so, leaving NSW as the only state where euthanasia is not legal. People wishing to avail themselves of the process must have a diagnosis of no more than twelve months to live according to two medical practitioners, and be of sound mind so that they can make that decision for themselves. Sounds fair enough to me and I can certainly see myself going down that route when the time comes.

I do have to wonder why the legislation will not take effect until 2023. No doubt to give the bureaucrats time to set up a typically ponderous process. Strange that no journalist asked that question.

I’ve thought for a long time that voluntary assisted dying (I stress that first word) should be a human right. I’ve seen people go through palliative care, drugged to the gills and effectively unconscious, eking out a futile existence as they waste away. And yet the comments on the newspaper article which announced the bill had passed indicates that an awful lot of people don’t approve. One expects resistance from the religious sector, and from some elements of the medical profession, who insist that their profession is meant to save life, not to take it. But then, how do you define ‘life’? Lying in a bed, either wracked with pain, or gaga on medication, is not my idea of life. Granted, many people choose to live despite the pain. That is their choice. But like so many other decisions, one person’s choice should not prevent another person’s choice.

Then there are those shaking their heads, referring to this bill’s passing as the start of the slippery slope. They point at what has happened in the Netherlands and Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal for several years. People are choosing to end their lives, not because they are in pain but because of issues such as loss of autonomy, loss of dignity, total reliance on other people for every bodily function, or because they have nothing left to live for. Fair enough. As the bible says, for everything there is a season. A time to die is one of them.

A year or two ago, a WA academic who was over one hundred and still working was gently retired by his university. Although he was still mentally acute, he was starting to lose his ability to do such mundane things as getting himself safely from his home to the campus. Not long after he was retired, he took himself to Switzerland where euthanasia is legal and ended his life. Who has the right to judge him?

“At my age, or less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death when the death is an appropriate time.” Read Dr Goodall’s story.

In other wonderful news, Australia has formed a new alliance with the UK and the USA, called AUKUS. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but <shrugs>. As part of the new arrangement Australia has finally terminated the agreement to buy submarines from France. It was always a terrible deal for many reasons. We’re going to build nuclear powered (not nuclear armed) submarines in Adelaide, specifically to match the US and UK models. It’s a leap in the right direction to see us better able to withstand Xi Xinping’s aggression in our neck of the woods. It’s great to see an alliance between three democratic nations willing to face up to China’s posturing. The world should have learned in 1938 that appeasement is a mistake. Looks like some countries have learnt the lesson.

On a personal note, in these days of covid lockdowns, both paint by numbers and adult colouring-in books have had a resurgence in popularity, and I thought I’d give PBN a try. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Here’s the one I bought, first the picture it’s based on.

And here’s where I got to early in the process.

There are quite a few companies selling PBN kits but I used Paint plots Australia, an Australian company based on the Gold Coast here in Queensland. Be warned, though, all the components are manufactured in – you guessed it.

I think I should have chosen something a bit simpler. I find I can only paint for half an hour or so before I go cross-eyed. Even in larger areas, the curves and details are quite small. And I often stray outside the lines – which doesn’t bother me, since the image is mainly fluid (ahem). I suspect this isn’t going to be an addictive, long-term hobby- although going by the very active Facebook group, it has become so for many other people.

I think I’ll go back to writing The Search for the Crimson Lady.

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