The Tasmanian Government must immediately set up an inquiry into assisted suicide, after Mike Gaffney produced a third incarnation of his assisted suicide Bill with 59 new clauses, the Australian Christian Lobby said today.

“This third attempt demonstrates that this assisted suicide proposal is fundamentally flawed,” ACL Tasmanian director Christopher Brohier said, “There can never be sufficient safeguards, and this bill is irrevocably mired in hopelessness and fear.

Take for example the loose interpretation of ‘intolerable suffering’. It includes what might (but might not) happen in relation to a medical condition, treatment or complications.

Whilst at least the definition of a relevant medical condition was belatedly been tightened to one where it is expected to cause the death of the person, that requirement is hopelessly wide. The expected death could be in 20 years’ time!

Mr Gaffney’s third attempt still allows non-specialist doctors to make key decisions, does not require psychiatrists to assess mental capacity, recklessly defines patients’ ‘capacity’ to make suicide decisions and also requires non specialist doctors to determine legal matters like coercion and duress.

The Tasmanian Government must announce an inquiry into assisted suicide. It is irresponsible of the government to leave this debate in the hands of a private member’s Bill. Every revision raises more questions and loopholes, demonstrating that there is no acceptably safe approach to assisted suicide.”

ENDS