David van Gend, a Toowoomba GP and a senior lecturer in palliative medicine at the University of Queensland, has written a well-argued article in today’s The Australian against legalised euthanasia, arguing that it corrupts the relationship between the state and its most vulnerable citizens.

He writes: “We must reject euthanasia both as a corruption of the doctor-patient relationship and as an insidious oppression of society’s “unproductive burdens”.” Please click here to read the rest of this very good article.

Meanwhile, the South Australian Parliament is again considering euthanasia laws after rejecting earlier laws in each of the last two years. This new bill, introduced by Labor MP Stephanie Key, is the most dangerous type of euthanasia yet proposed in Australia.

Although its supporters, including Health Minister John Hill believe it does “not open the door for legalising euthanasia”, it offers doctors a defence to the crime of homicide for administering medication which may cause the death of a patient who has ‘requested’ medication to end their life.

The HOPE network: Preventing euthanasia and assisted suicide has carefully examined the Criminal Law Consolidation (Medical Defences – End of Life Arrangements) Amendment Bill 2011 and has provided some good commentary on its intent and effects:

“Similar to the Dutch law (and practice over previous decades) it would allow medical professionals who are happy to kill their patients or to provide assistance in suicide to ply a trade in death without any reporting framework and with no guidance . . . The only risk to a doctor or anyone aiding him or her would be if someone complained.”

Despite the clear avenues of abuse to vulnerable patients that would be opened up by this extreme proposal – even by the standards of previous attempts at legalised euthanasia – there is an expectation the bill will pass the Lower House.

The euthanasia advocates in the South Australian Parliament have been continuously active in recent years, and we need to be equally committed to the protection of vulnerable life of we are to see these repeated attempts defeated.

South Australian supporters are encouraged to contact Upper House Members to express their concerns about this latest attempt to legalise euthanasia. Members’ contact details are available by clicking here.