Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has backed the appropriateness of Justice Abraham’s ruling on Thursday 29 November 2023 that counselling or promoting Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) via telehealth is counselling or promoting suicide and to do is breaking the law under section 474.29A and 474.29B of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
Pushing back on some State Attorneys General who are calling for telehealth to be used for euthanasia appointments, the Prime Minister said, “My personal opinion is that these issues are serious and that telehealth should not be used”.
National Director of Politics for the Australian Christian Lobby, Wendy Francis, said, “The Prime Minister is wise to reject euthanasia consultations via telehealth. In such circumstances, there is obviously no ability to examine the patient, nor to detect any nonverbal cues, or to properly assess the mental state and capacity of the patient. It is not even possible to see who else may be in the room seeking to influence the outcome of the consultation.
“The argument put forward by Melbourne doctor Nick Carr that euthanasia should not be considered suicide is an insult to logic. Try telling that to the family of the man who took his wife’s euthanasia drugs after she died in hospital.
“The act of euthanasia and suicide involve the intent to die, a person seeking death as an end to life, and the act of deliberately gaining access to a means to end your life. Both lead to a deliberate death which impacts not only the person, but also their family and their carers.”
The ACL calls on the Federal Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, to retain the current
commonwealth restriction on telehealth as a means of communication for the promotion of VAD/assisted suicide/euthanasia.