As I wrote some time ago, there is a deep moral cognitive dissonance at the heart of the “right-to-die” movement. In our society, suicide is regarded with such horror that its very name cannot be mentioned by the media. Suicide is seen as an overwhelming moral harm. On the other hand, euthanasia is widely regarded as a moral good.

Yet they’re objectively exactly the same thing.

When a New Zealand MP pointed out this inconvenient fact, he was widely reprimanded. Jacinda Ardern scolded that “these are two very different issues”. But, Ardern is simply wrong: suicide and euthanasia are objectively equivalent. Both encompass a person deliberately choosing to end their life.

Now that the first results of the Australian state of Victoria’s euthanasia legislation are coming in, even members of the ruling Labor party are starting to take uncomfortable notice.

Victorian Labor frontbencher Marlene Kairouz says she is deeply concerned about the number of people “committing suicide” under the Andrews government’s voluntary assisted dying legislation following revelations yesterday that more than 50 people ended their lives under the scheme between June and December.

There’s no need for the scare quotes around “committing suicide”. Dress it up in euphemism as they will, it’s exactly what euthanasia is. This kind of squeamish obfuscation only shows that euthanasia advocates are only too aware of the problems with their ideology.

Ms Kairouz said the Andrews government was otherwise working hard to lower suicide rates across the community.

“We have a Minister for Mental Health who is doing some really wonderful work to lower the suicide rates,” she said.

“It’d be no surprise to anybody that I have some concerns about the number of people who are taking their lives (under the voluntary assisted dying scheme).

So the government wants to stop people committing suicide by their own means, but they’re perfectly happy for people to commit suicide with the assistance and encouragement of the state?

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said he was concerned about the administrative errors revealed in the report, which revealed “83% of cases required forms to be returned for clarification or provision of missing eligibility information”.

The report also stated that 19 applications for voluntary assisted dying permits had been withdrawn, for reasons including “administrative error or confirmation of death by means other than voluntary assisted dying”.

“I’m very interested to find out, what are those administrative errors?” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s supposed to be a very tightly safeguarded process, and you’re supposed to have gone through two checks with doctors before you can access it, so I’m just interested in, given that the term I think was ‘administrative error’ that was used in the report, I’m just interested in working out, how can you have administrative errors when it comes to a scheme that’s about euthanasia?”

It’s almost like allowing governments, which struggle to organise chook raffles, to confer the state-sanctioned blessing of suicide is a bad idea.

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