Suicide Assistance Laws in Australia Urgently Need Reform

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“Suicide Assistance laws in Australia urgently need reform” Euthanasia, or assisted suicide, is a subject that has been debated for a very long time. In Australia, an act passed by the Northern Territory state government in 1995, saw the first legalisation of euthanasia in the world. The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, as it is better known, was quickly overturned by the commonwealth of Australia in the Euthanasia Laws Act of 1997. This paper will consider both sides of the euthanasia debate and will conclude with answering the following statement: “Suicide Assistance laws in Australia urgently need reform”. One of the reasons why euthanasia is not currently legal in Australia is because it has been so hard to define and draw the line on who is and isn’t eligible. The South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, or SAVES, is an organisation whose primary objective is ‘a change to the law in South Australia, so that in appropriate circumstances, and with defined safeguards, death may be brought about as an option of last resort in medical practice’. They define euthanasia as ‘a quick and peaceful death brought about under medical supervision at the request of and in the interests of a patient in which prescribed safeguards are followed’ and ‘applies to a person who is hopelessly ill with no other prospect of relief from suffering which that person finds intolerable. SAVES organisation deals with voluntary euthanasia, which is conducted with the consent of the patient. Non-voluntary euthanasia is conducted where the consent of the patient is unavailable, and Involuntary euthanasia is conducted against the will of the patient. These three types of euthanasia can then be further divided into passive and active categories. Passive euthanasia is when antibiotics or similar medicines are withheld from treatment as they are needed to keep the patient alive. Active euthanasia is the administering of lethal substances to a patient to kill. Euthanasia has become a hot...
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