The Australian Christian Lobby has questioned the ability of the Greens' proposed euthanasia bill to prevent people who are not terminally ill or in intractable pain from being killed.
Giving evidence at this afternoon's Senate inquiry in Canberra, ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton gave six examples from Belgium and The Netherlands where people had used euthanasia legislation without complying with its safeguards.
"Despite the best intentions, it is clear that euthanasia in Belgium and The Netherlands has moved beyond something strictly available to the terminally ill or those in intractable pain," Mr Shelton said.
"Despite the Greens' extra safeguards of requiring medical practitioners including a psychiatrist to give the green light to voluntary euthanasia, we have seen this flouted in the past."
Mr Shelton told this afternoon's hearing that similar safeguards were circumvented when people were euthanised under the Northern Territory's short-lived euthanasia laws in the mid 1990s.
"Apart from pressuring vulnerable people and changing the doctor-patient relationship, practice shows euthanasia cannot be contained to the very small cohort of people the Greens envisage."
Mr Shelton told the inquiry there had been 10 failed attempts to legislate euthanasia since 2008. Many of these had been instigated by the Greens which nominate euthanasia and same-sex marriage as top political priorities.
"Persistence is a virtue in politics. But I think questions now need to be asked about the Greens' parliamentary tactics and their strategy of trying to bring about legislation by fatigue," Mr Shelton said.