Claims by former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks that state-sanctioned assisted suicide can be made safe defy the frightening reality that where it is legal, the vulnerable are being killed against their will, warns the Australian Christian Lobby.
“We know that in other countries held up as examples of good public policy by advocates, euthanasia has slipped from being available only to the terminally ill to euthanising the mentally ill and even children,” ACL Victorian director Dan Flynn said.
“Mr Bracks claims that now is ‘good timing’ for euthanasia, but when is the time ever right for doctors to start killing people?
“As the Government seeks to legalise euthanasia, even against medical advice from the Australian Medical Association, Victorians remain concerned that such a significant change in public policy is being pushed even though it was not part of the Government’s election platform.
“So-called safeguards did little to help the Dutch woman who was recently held down by her family members as her doctor killed her with a lethal substance," he said.
“Nor has euthanasia proven to be safe for more than 400 patients who were put to death by their doctor in 2015, without giving explicit consent, according to recently released Dutch Government statistics.
“Australia’s short-lived experiment with state-sanctioned suicide in the Northern Territory was a failure, leaving question marks over whether all those killed were actually terminally ill.
“That is why since the Northern Territory euthanasia law was revoked, more than 40 attempts to similar laws across Australia have failed.
“It is significant that euthanasia has been repeatedly voted against in Australian jurisdictions," Mr Flynn said.
“Parliamentarians have discovered that under scrutiny, the supposed safeguards do not give them confidence that the vulnerable will be safe.
“Taking the lessons from the Northern Territory and internationally, and the warnings from the AMA and St Vincent’s Hospital among others, we appeal to the Victorian Government to recognise the very real and drastic consequences of allowing doctors to kill patients and invest in state-of-the-art palliative care instead.