ACT's David Seymour defends End of Life Choice Bill after Disability Commissioner's criticism

ACT leader David Seymour says his End of Life Choice Bill will not negatively impact the disability community, despite fears from the Disability Commissioner around safeguards and protections for people with disabilities. 

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero released her submission to the Justice Select Committee on Mr Seymour's Member's Bill yesterday. 

Ms Tesoriero said in a press release she was hearing "significant concerns about this Bill, particularly the inclusion of grievous and irremediable (but non-terminal) medical conditions. These concerns are important and relevant and need to be part of the conversation around this legislation."

"In its current form, the Bill undermines the position of disabled and vulnerable members of our community. It devalues their lives and poses significant risks to them, as individuals and as a group."

Mr Seymour told 1 NEWS one of Ms Tesoriero's concerns was "that somebody with a disability might be somehow euthanised because of their disability".

"That's impossible," Mr Seymour said.

"The second thing she's worried about, if some people choose to end their lives because of their condition, that's somehow a message to people their life is not worth living."

"This is for people who are in an advanced state of decline, whose capability is declining. Not because they have a certain level of capability but because their situation is getting worse and worse."

"It's not about what level of capability you have, it's about the fact that you're declining and getting worse."

When asked if he thought Ms Tesoriero's concerns would have an impact on MP's support of the Bill Mr Seymour said: "We have ongoing discussions with members of parliament, there may be some alterations to the bill as it goes through the Select Committee process, because no Bill is perfect when it's first introduced."

Ms Tesoriero said if the Bill was to be passed, it was "vital that the concerns I have outlined are addressed in full consultation with the disability community". 

The pair are set to have a meeting to discuss the Bill in the next few days. 

Paula Tesoriero’s submission for the euthanasia policy questioned the broadness between people with a disability and those with a terminal illness. Source: 1 NEWS

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