Put simply, people are dying who don’t have to die.
Each year 159,000 people die in Australia, and the government tells us only 2% are suitable people to donate organs.
The government and its self-serving so-called public servants are cribbing. The figures show there were only 1544 donor transplant operations last year, and since there were 159,000 deaths, 2% would mean 3180 donor transplants were available. On even the highly questionable government figures, this would mean that 1636 Australians died, who arguably did not have to die.
There's more to Crikey than you think.
Get more and save 50%.
I myself have asked my office and my wife to put me down as a donor but this has not happened. We have 69% of the Australian population saying we should all give organs. But only 1% are actually giving organs.
After questioning the minister for health at parliamentary question time I received an answer that proved my case, not his. Whilst leaving the chamber, another member (Liberal) buttonholed me and advised that he had responsibility in this area.
“It is intended that this gets done,” he told me.
“We were in the process of getting all states agreement when the government fell. You must pursue this.”
We shall be moving legislation for the “opt out” policies — that operate in most countries — where all that die have their organs, by law, made available for transplant, unless they specifically request that they do not wish their organs to be sourced.
Australia’s current policy is “opt in”. No one has the right to take your organs, unless you have specifically requested that your organs are available for transplant.
Whilst an improvement in transplant technology is needed, few would deny that thousands of people are dying that just don’t have to die. There nearly 11,000 Australians waiting for a kidney transplant.
The “opt out” system requires one very important exemption. Where the near relatives specify they will not approve a transplant their wishes must prevail.
People are dying who do not have to die.
Bob Katter is the member for Kennedy, Queensland.
Crikey accepts submissions from all sides of politics which are in keeping with our editorial standards.