Aussie Life

Aussie Language

15 May 2021

9:00 AM

15 May 2021

9:00 AM

There is an organisation called ‘Dying with Dignity’. In their most recent newsletter they say, ‘The NSW Parliament looks set to debate a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill this year. Independent MP Alex Greenwich has announced his plans to have a Bill ready in July to be put before Parliament in September.’

What always strikes me is the language. The advocates of euthanasia never used the word ‘suicide’. This word means (from its Latin roots) ‘self-killing’. (Mind you, these days they seem to even shy away from the word ‘euthanasia.’) The Bill they talk about has the weasel word title of ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying’.

But linguistically self-killing is always self-killing—whether it’s done by a depressed, bullied teenager or an elderly, infirm man. I’ll be more impressed by these death advocates when they have the courage to use plain language and explain how death can ever be an admirable or dignified solution.

We see the teenager’s self-killing (quite rightly) as a tragedy. Paul Kelly once wrote in the Australian that we should also see the old man’s self-killing as a tragedy—a failure of society to provide compassion and care. Using plain language instead of weasel words would at least make this clearer.

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