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Donate Life Week

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
26 August 2020

On behalf of The Greens, I support the motion about DonateLife Week. I concur with much of what the Hon. Walt Secord stated in his contribution. I, too, am a registered donor and have spoken to my family about it. I also actively support the campaign for an opt-out system when it comes to organ donations, as opposed to our current opt-in system. Let us remember that with an opt-out system, people cannot doubt—that is the whole point. Most governments around the world that have embarked on opt‑out schemes have seen a huge increase in organ donations, but they have accompanied those schemes with education and information for multicultural communities and have largely seen success with those programs. Australia is ranked twentieth in the world for organ donations, behind countries such as Croatia, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In fact, recent international studies have shown that the implementation of an opt-out system of organ procurement would increase donation rates by 50 per cent.

Tonight members have heard some personal stories and statistics. Those statistics give hope that one day instead of being in this House debating a motion on DonateLife—saying what a good thing it is and encouraging members of the community to opt in—we would be encouraging a change in the law. Currently there are 1,700 Australians on the waitlist for an organ transplant, with wait times between six months and four years. The nation and, indeed, the world has done much to save lives around COVID. I know it is an extremely different situation, but we are prepared to change laws, sacrifice and reach out to multicultural communities to ensure hopefully that they understand legislation. We should also be prepared to legislate to save lives and make people be organ donors unless they have a specific objection. If they do object that is okay; they can then opt out. Importantly, for most countries that have the opt-out scheme, a patient's family can still object even if the patient has not opted out, which usually means that organ donation does not go ahead. I support the motion. Of course we should campaign for and educate more people to donate. However, as with seatbelts or the mobile phone bills, the best thing is legislation, because not everybody does it.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
26 August 2020
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