An expert advisory panel was set up as part of the consultation process of the implementation of assisted suicide in the Northern Territory (NT), but the process has been shown to be a sham.
Christopher Brohier the Australian Christian Lobby’s Northern Territory Director said “Whilst the NT Government has invited the public to “have your say” with regards to the implementation of assisted suicide, the process is a sham.
“On 16 November 2023, as part of the consultation process, the panel held a public community meeting in Alice Springs. Out of the approximate 40 attendees, at least 20 peacefully opposed the introduction of assisted suicide and attempted to ‘have their say’ as had been invited. Incredibly, despite the panel sympathetically acknowledging their views, they were told that the terms of reference did not allow opposition to assisted suicide to be considered.”
Panel co-chair, Mr Duncan McConnel, said, “The terms of reference for this panel were set by the Government…but if you look at the terms of reference, [they] do not call upon this panel explicitly to consider the threshold question of whether or not the Northern Terriotory Government should introduce legislation of this kind.”
Mr Brohier said, “The poorly worded online survey questions also make the assumption that a person filling out the survey agrees with legislating assisted suicide. The community consultation is a farce.
“The consultation process has been set up to implement assisted suicide regardless of what NT people think and despite concerns raised. The NT Government is not interested in the discussion about whether or not to legislate assisted suicide, therefore they are not actually interested in consulting with the public. This sham of a consultation is merely to give the appearance of listening.”
The Australian Christian Lobby calls upon the NT Government to properly consult the NT public and actively seek feedback on the question “should we legislate assisted suicide?”. It would seem they are aware that the answer is likely to be “No”.