Media Release

June 23, 2010

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today questioned the Tasmanian Greens’ influence on the Tasmanian Government’s euthanasia stance given that what is supposedly meant to be a private member’s bill on the issue has been raised in the Attorney-General’s Budget reply speech – and thereby appears to be giving Government endorsement to legalising euthanasia.

ACL Tasmanian Director Nick Overton said Greens’ leader Nick McKim’s Dying with Dignity Bill was resoundingly defeated in the Lower House as recently as last November and it is a serious waste of parliamentarians’ time to be forced to deal with the issue again such a short time later.

“Legislation to legalise euthanasia – and thereby put at risk the lives of vulnerable elderly and sick people – has now been thoroughly examined and defeated twice in Tasmania in recent years and it seems extraordinary that Attorney-General Lara Giddings should now be bringing it forward again within a Budget Reply speech where she is clearly not acting as a private member, even though that is the capacity in which she suggests she will be working on this issue,” Mr Overton said.

“The ACL is opposed to legalising euthanasia, as we are to many of the other priorities the Attorney-General raised in her Budget Reply speech yesterday, such as progressing a charter of rights, introducing surrogacy laws and reforming sex industry laws – particularly if that means legalising brothels and causing harm to women caught up in the industry.

“We hope that there will be genuine consultation on these issues – and not simply the pushing through of a pre-determined Government position.

“We are also deeply concerned about how much an imperative to follow the Greens’ agenda – as appears to be happening on the euthanasia issue – will influence the scope and extremeness of the rest of the Government’s so-called progressive law reform agenda.”