On euthanasia

Former Victorian Public Advocate Julian Gardner writes: Re. “Would legalising euthanasia diminish the rights of people with disabilities?” (yesterday). The graphic headed “Advance Health Care Directive” that accompanied an otherwise valuable article regrettably distorted the distinction between euthanasia and advance care planning. The latter was nowhere mentioned other than in the graphic: it is irrelevant to the issue of euthanasia. Advance care planning is a process that enables people, if they want, to plan their future health care. It is way of promoting autonomy beyond the time of personal incapacity. It should be promoted but many people are deterred by the quite false belief, furthered by misleading information  such as your graphic, that it is related to euthanasia.

Valerie Vaughan writes: I work in the medical field but if I am diagnosed with dementia, please God we have a law which would enable me to take my life with dignity before I become a lost incontinent soul living in no man’s land. Having seen beautiful and intelligent people descend into this living nightmare for themselves and their families, the only people who are against this law would be people who  have never been in this situation with family and people who for some unknown reason are afraid to die. We must have this choice if this is what we wish. I will continue to support this law.

On death and war

Dean Ellis writes: Re. “Rundle: Nazi trial a triumph of our imagined good over evil” (yesterday). Rundle writes: “Part of the guff of Anzac is not imagining how men die on a beach overlooked by cliffs, shredded by artillery, disembowled by snipers.” Maybe, but for me part of the guff of Anzac is that we don’t deal with the collective guilt and shame that has survived 100 years for sending a generation of men away to fight for and be killed in the name of the empire. Once people at home realised the Great War wasn’t so great and it was in fact a charnel house and they (the people at home) had been dudded by the likes of Churchill and Kitchener et al there was a need to sublimate the terrible mistake that had been made. The ultimate and inevitable maturing of Australia as an independent nation will or must include a reckoning of this aspect of our history. Now that the last vestiges of human contact with that time are slipping away maybe, just maybe, we can begin to face up to the tragic mistake we made in putting blind faith in the auspices of another nation to do our thinking for us.