Compare Party Responses

You have selected to view the Policy Area "Life" for all Parties from whom we have received Responses.

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Life
  11. Abortion – freedom of conscience
  12. Abortion – neo-natal deaths post-abortion
  13. Euthanasia
   


Life

11. Abortion – freedom of conscience

Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 compels doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy to another health practitioner who is willing to perform the procedure. Will your Party honour the State's obligation to freedom of conscience by removing this provision from the statute books, instead inserting a clause that provides that Health professionals and those in training for a health profession who conscientiously object to being involved in a procedure or referring for a procedure should not be compelled to participate, nor should they be put at a disadvantage because of their objection?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • Under a Liberal-Nationals Coalition government, any proposals to amend the law relating to abortion would be subject to a free vote.

All aspects of the debate on the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 were subject to a free vote by members of the Liberal-Nationals Coalition.  In contrast, the Labor Party refused to allow its members a conscience vote on procedural issues relating to the Bill, and used coercion and threats against members who were considering voting against the Bill or in favour of various amendments. 

Under a Liberal-Nationals government, any proposals to amend the law would be subject to a free vote.



Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 provides for a conscientious objection for all practitioners, except in an emergency situation where the woman’s life is at risk.
  • Removing s.8 would not significantly alter the obligation on doctors, because doctors would remain guided by the AMA Code of Ethics.

The Greens MPs would not support a motion to remove s.8 from the Abortion Law Reform Act.

Section 8 provides for a conscientious objection for all practitioners, which protects any practitioner seeking to exercise that right. The Greens support the right of any practitioner to exercise a conscientious objection in those circumstances.  We are concerned that any group would seek to remove that right.

In addition, we note that removing s.8 would not significantly alter the obligation on doctors, because doctors would remain guided by the AMA Code of Ethics.

The AMA Code of Ethics provides for a conscientious objection for doctors, with some limits:

1.“The Doctor and the Patient
1.1 Patient Care

p. When a personal moral judgement or religious belief alone prevents you from recommending some form of therapy, inform your patient so that they may seek care elsewhere.
q. Recognise that you may decline to enter into a therapeutic relationship where an alternative health care provider is available, and the situation is not an emergency one.”



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Family First will urgently lobby for conscientious objection rights for medical workers and healthcare provider organisations who do not wish to perform abortions or have any direct or indirect involvement with the abortion process.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • Labor believes that the law as it currently stands allows practitioners to hold a conscientious objection. In fact, the Act provides statutory protection for a practitioner’s conscientious objection for the first time.
  • The National rules of the Australian Labor Party state that abortion is a matter of conscience for all Labor Members of Parliament.
  • The Platform of the Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) does not outline any further changes to the legislation.

The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 requires an effective referral, a referral to a practitioner who does not hold an objection as defined by and supported as best practice by Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians Gynaecologists.

The performance of a termination is then a matter for that practitioner taking into account the clear parameters that are laid out in the Act.



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • The Christian Democratic Party would unhesitatingly remove from the statute books the outrageous obligation of a health professional to act against their conscience on this issue.
  • The Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 must be the worst legislation on this subject in the Western world – it adds insult to injury.
  • Killing an infant (after birth) is a heinous murder; killing that same person a few days’ earlier, in the womb, can be a legal abortion! Therefore the CDP would restore the law which criminalises abortion.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

Absolutely. This would be one of the DLP’s top priorities.

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12. Abortion – neo-natal deaths post-abortion

The 2007 annual report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity showed that 52 out of 181 late term babies who were aborted for "abnormalities" survived late term abortions but died neo-natally. Would your Party support a parliamentary inquiry into neo-natal deaths of aborted babies?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • Under a Coalition government, any decisions in relation to a neo-natal deaths inquiry will be made in light of any further evidence or other matters that may arise.

The Coalition allowed a free vote to its members on the motion for an inquiry that was debated in the Legislative Council on 28 July 2010.  The Labor Party voted as a block against the motion, and the motion was unsuccessful.  If further matters or evidence arise, that would need to be looked at on its merits and decisions made at that time.



Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]

A parliamentary enquiry could not achieve anything other than further distress the parents of the babies who have died in such tragic circumstances, because no medical intervention could have saved the baby’s life.

They were all born pursuant to early induced labour after the parents had been told of serious defects in the foetus, which meant that their much-wanted baby could not survive.

These were some of the most examined deaths in Victoria. Before they died, their cases were referred and discussed, over and over. Expertise was drawn from across the state on the nature of the diagnosis, and whether there was any option to save the baby. All options were considered until there was no hope.

These deaths occurred in hospitals, staffed by medical professionals. Multiple medical professionals were involved. The deaths were reported to CCOPMM. At every stage health services officers have an obligation to report to the Coroner if there was any suspicion of wrongdoing. For example, if there had been a misdiagnosis, or if anyone saw anything other than the best available palliative care for the baby. Parents could also have referred independently to the Coroner. 

The Coroner did not investigate any of those 52 deaths. This indicates to us that there was no suspicion of any breach.

As the baby has been born alive, it is an Australian citizen with all the full rights to medical treatment or palliative care of any dying citizen. 

On a related issue, we draw your attention to page 48 of the same report.  In 2007, 4 children aged 10-14 years committed suicide. A further 10 children aged 14-17 years committed suicide. It was the second most common cause of death in this age-group.  These are lives that could potentially be saved. We encourage all those concerned about the tragic death of children to take action on early intervention on mental health issues.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Yes. Family First supports the full legal protection of human life from conception through to natural death. Family First is therefore opposed to abortion.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity reports on these matters, and the 2008 report is due later this year.
  • A parliamentary inquiry would not be appropriate.


Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • Not only would the Christian Democratic Party support a parliamentary inquiry into the reported neo-natal deaths after abortion, but we would press criminal charges against those professionals allowing such deaths to occur.
  • If this argument was ever needed, this again stresses the humanity and personality of the infant in the womb.
  • Our party would delete, as a matter of priority, the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, from the legislation.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

Absolutely, in fact this proposal in parliament was made by the DLP member, Peter Kavanagh.

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13. Euthanasia

The last attempt at legalising euthanasia in the state was soundly rejected when the Legislative Council voted 25 to 13 against the Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill 2008 on 10 September 2008. Will your Party rule out any attempt to bring on another conscience vote on euthanasia in the life of the new parliament?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • A Liberal-Nationals Coalition government would not bring or support the bringing of legislation on euthanasia to the Parliament. 
  • Any such proposals would be a matter for individual backbench MPs.


Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • The Greens would not rule out any attempt to bring in a conscience vote on euthanasia.
  • The Greens support the right of people in sound mind, dying from an incurable disease, when pain relief is not working for them, to be able to seek assistance to die.
  • We will request that the government send a reference to the Law Reform Commission consult with the community on this important issue and make recommendations.

Many of the MPs who rejected Ms Hartland’s Bill said that they support dying with dignity in principle, and they might have voted differently had the legislation been the result of a thorough investigation and consultation.  This is why we wish to refer the matter to the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Ms Hartland’s legislation was supported by a broad range of community members, including Christians.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Yes. Family First supports the full legal protection of human life from conception through to natural death. Family First is therefore opposed to euthanasia.


Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • The Platform of the Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) states clearly that these are matters for the conscience of individual Labor Members of Parliament.
  • The Platform of the Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) does not outline any further changes to this legislation.
  • In fact, the Platform of the Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) supports campaigns to improve knowledge of the operation of the current Medical Treatment Act 1988.

Labor understands that these are complex issues for individuals and supports these as matters of conscience for individual Labor Members of Parliament at a State level.



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • The Christian  Democratic Party would not bring on any euthanasia legislation – with or without a conscience vote.
  • Palliative care for terminally ill patients is of such a standard that euthanasia ought not to be an option.
  • Taking a person’s life before natural death is a dangerous precedent easily leading, for example, to the slippery slope of  immaturely terminating a relative’s life because of an inheritance benefit.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

Yes.

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