Less than 24 hours after telling Parliament in her first speech that she was committed to suicide prevention, Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann will today give notice of her intent to move legislation that would legalise euthanasia in NSW.

“At a time when Australia is battling what some perceive as an epidemic of depression, measures to address high rates of youth suicide are vitally important and as a community we should be doing all we can to affirm the intrinsic worth of life,” Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) NSW Director David Hutt said today.

“Advocating euthanasia sends the exact opposite message - it says that the worth of life can be measured according to its quality and promotes killing as an alternative to helping people.

“The inherent contradiction in Ms Faehmann’s positions are further highlighted by the fact that Australia’s most prominent advocate for euthanasia, Dr Philip Nitschke, suggests that troubled teens should also be able to access the so-called ‘peaceful pill’.”

In her first speech to Parliament yesterday, Cate Faehrmann told the Legislative Council: “I will be working to support organisations and individuals who undertake advocacy and provide vital support for people experiencing mental illness, and their families, particularly support that prevents young people from suiciding.” (NSW Legislative Council Hansard, 21-09-10). Today Ms Faehrmann is quoted in the media outlining her intention to move a bill to legalise euthanasia.

Mr Hutt said the bill represented a real risk to the most vulnerable in society. “In every Australian state where a parliamentary committee has closely examined euthanasia, the committee has rejected it on account of the way in which the laws to protect life are made inconsistent and dangerously subjective,” he said.

“In the Netherlands where euthanasia has been practiced since the 1990s, 1000 people per year are killed without their consent. The Dutch experience shows that so-called voluntary euthanasia quickly becomes non-voluntary euthanasia.

“We also know from experience overseas that far too easily, the so-called ‘right to die’ can very quickly become a ‘duty to die’. People who are elderly, frail or suffering from depression in many cases feel they are under pressure to end their life because they think they are a burden on society and their loved ones.”

Mr Hutt questioned why this bill was being given priority by the Greens and called on the major parties to reject the bill. “Many people would have expected that a newly-minted Greens MP should be proposing a climate change solution. Instead, Ms Faehrmann only mentioned climate change twice in her 20-minute first speech to parliament. This just shows how important it is for people to not just listen to what the Greens say but to look at what they do.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979