Euthanasia is supported by 80 per cent of Tasmania but legislation is yet to pass parliament

Death is a dirty laundry subject.

It’s an ever-constant reminder that we are not invincible and it is the one thing that no one can ever escape.

Talking about death is not a nice thing, as no one likes to admit they are vulnerable.

However, death has cropped up in the Tasmanian headlines last week with former Labor Premier Lara Giddings pushing for more discussion and support from the state government for a euthanasia bill.

The new push has emerged this week but assisted dying or dying with dignity bills have been debated in the Tasmanian parliament for many years.

A bill was presented to Parliament in 2009 by former Greens Leader Nick McKim but the bill was never passed into legislation.

This latest push by Ms Giddings is the third Assisted Dying Bill to be presented to the Tasmanian Parliament since 2009.

The report was released on Thursday last week but Ms Giddings did not expect it to have a significant affect on the Assisted Dying Bill. 

Launceston euthanasia advocate Helena Lettau joined Ms Giddings and Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor to launch the latest attempt at  Assisted Dying laws in Tasmania. 

A petition started by Ms Lettau gathered more than 400 signatures and recent research points to the fact that 80 per cent of Tasmanians support dying with dignity.

Despite this, there has not been a strong attempt by the state Liberal government to address the issue.

Euthanasia is a tough thing to talk about – there are many complications.

How, for example, would any euthanasia bill be regulated to ensure people who wish to die are doing it with the right intentions and with all of the information?

What will the crossover be between people who wish to end their lives by euthanasia and people who may use the legislation to end their life by suicide?

How will the government ensure that the right people are taking their lives by euthanasia?

What about children with life-threatening illnesses? Would they be allowed to take their own lives? Would it be up to them or their parents?

The idea of euthanasia throws up a lot of questions – it is not a clear cut decision by any means.

Human beings have built their lives around the right to choose, whether that is the choice of friends, partners, jobs, interests or political allegiances.

But that right to choose does not seem to extend to the only thing that we can’t escape – death.

When you think about euthanasia, it’s not hard to put yourself in another’s shoes.

If you were faced with a terminal illness, would you like to end your life on your own terms?

To leave your families with positive memories of the times you shared, before the illness wasted away you body and your mind?

I don’t know if any of us could clearly answer that question, well not anyone who is healthy and able-bodied.

But to have that option open to you, if that time came, would ensure you could make the most of any time you had left.

Tasmania is a state that has often left big decisions to the big island to make, but maybe this one is something our state could take the lead on.

I can’t say definitively if I would go down the euthanasia path if I was ever diagnosed with a terminal illness, but I would like to have the option to choose.