Voluntary Euthanasia Deserves A Real Debate

On February 11th in South Australia the Hon. Steph Key presented a new Voluntary Euthanasia Bill to the South Australian Parliament.

It is just a recent step in a wave of proposals – retiring Labor MLA Mary Porter moved a final motion to change voluntary euthanasia laws in the ACT Legislative Assembly. Along with the Tasmanian Dying with Dignity Bill which is being co-sponsored by Labor MP Lara Giddings and Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor, and tabled in Parliament in the first half of the year – these kinds of changes have the potential to reform Australia’s laws for the better.

It is of particular interest to the Atheist Foundation of Australia that arguments about voluntary euthanasia are based upon scientific and societal merit instead of vehement and fundamentalist religious minority views.

Former Northern Territory chief minister Marshall Perron said in this ABC News article that he believed politicians who would not support the concept were often swayed by religious beliefs.

Many politicians hide their religion, but it’s religion that’s holding back this issue, there’s no question about that,” he said.

For a politician to know that 80 per cent of their electorate supports something, but say ‘I don’t and therefore I will not vote for such an issue’, is really undemocratic in the extreme.

In light of the increased attention to voluntary euthanasia in this country, including the sterling efforts of Andrew Denton’s excellent podcast series podcast Better Off Dead – we encourage the conversation to continue across the nation for the good of all of our futures.

As Crikey says on the topic: it deserves real debate, not silence and intimidation.

Michael Boyd

Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
PO Box 1062
Lane Cove NSW 1595

Phone: (02) 8007 4503
Email: president@atheistfoundation.org.au

  • Brendan Roberts

    There can be no objection in a democracy to reasoned debate.

    I oppose voluntary euthnasia and assisted suicide for three reasons: they will further undermine the sanctity of life; the vulnerable may be coerced into ending their lives; and they detract from the imperative to provide care for the terminally ill, frail and disabled.

    • exPentaxian

      Define sanctity and how it is undermined by giving people the option not to suffer in their final weeks/months etc, or to not be drugged to unconsciousness.

      They can be coerced to not take that option too by family members who can’t let go despite their loved ones needlessly suffering. This is the whole reason there are multiple levels of review, did you read the proposed laws?

      How? It is purely voluntary, the imperative to provide care has not changed one bit. In countries that allow this the level of aged care did not drop.