The latest - and most promising - push for a voluntary assisted dying law in Tasmania has been challenging for the Liberal government, divided as it is between progressives who might support such reform and conservatives who most certainly would not.
Back in November, when the Legislative Council was on the eve of passing Mike Gaffney's bill, Premier Peter Gutwein announced that he was asking government agencies and an independent review panel under the University of Tasmania to consider the proposed legislation.
On Monday, Mr Gutwein did as he said he would and released the independent review report and agency advice ahead of this week's resumption of parliament.
What then transpired was a concerted effort by his conservative colleagues to build opposition to the bill.
Bass MP Michael Ferguson fired off a media release about half-an-hour after the Premier's, arguing "the advice raises more questions than answers" and that the "problematic" bill is "rushed and poorly drafted".
Clark MP Elise Archer followed with similar sentiments a day later, including a rather left-field point about telehealth, and then on Wednesday Braddon MP Felix Ellis chimed in. Thursday was likely supposed to be the turn of Guy Barnett, but he was busy with a charity fundraising ride. So after a day off we heard on Friday from Franklin MP Jacquie Petrusma. And that's where the little campaign really became desperate.
Mrs Petrusma argued we should all reflect on the fact that "Tasmanian Aboriginal communities have advised that assisted suicide and euthanasia is not part of their culture".
True or not, this is as irrelevant as whether other communities oppose the bill due to their own cultural or religious beliefs. Simply put, if voluntary assisted dying doesn't accord with your beliefs, don't do it.
What's particularly disingenuous about Mrs Petrusma's argument though is that she is cynically using a supposed Aboriginal belief to suit her own pre-existing position.
It's difficult to believe that any of these MPs would have come to the debate with an open mind, and their contributions over the last week have just reinforced this thinking.
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