Dying with Dignity
Death is an issue that all of us must face. Whether it is our own death or that of a relative, it is a difficult and stressful time. It may also be the first time that many of us encounter the complex intersection of law and medicine and realise that it severely curtails the control we and our doctors may exercise over the circumstances of our passing.
Attempts to fix this have been halting at best. The issues that confront us at the end of our lives are sensitive and highly emotive. Attempts at reform can elicit passionate responses from voters on all sides of the issue. For many political leaders, it would seem that this is considered dangerous and uncertain territory. Although the Northern Territory had a short period of legal euthanasia following the passage of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (until it was overturned by the Federal parliament with the so-called “Andrews Bill”, after its sponsor Kevin Andrews), there has been no progress on the issue for two decades. Despite several attempts including bills in three state parliaments last year no state Parliament has successfully legislated for physician assisted suicide.
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