Media Release

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today called on South Australian parliamentarians to reject the euthanasia bill being introduced into the Lower House by Labor MP Steph Key today, saying that, if passed, the legislation would put the lives of vulnerable sick and elderly South Australians at risk.

ACL SA/Victorian Director Rob Ward said that the introduction of legalised euthanasia has been rejected on six separate occasions by the SA Parliament since 1995 – including as recently as November last year. Euthanasia legislation was also rejected in Tasmania last year and in Victoria in 2008.

“In every Australian state where a parliamentary committee has closely examined euthanasia, the committee has rejected it on account of the way in which the laws to protect life are made inconsistent and dangerously subjective,” he said.

“Euthanasia advocates should stop tying up parliamentary time revisiting this issue and recognise that legalised euthanasia is a dangerous practice that no reasonable legislature should accept.”

Mr Ward said that if Ms Key’s private member’s bill succeeds the ‘right to die’ could quickly become the ‘duty to die’ under the new culture legalised euthanasia inevitably creates.

“Supposed safeguards for euthanasia legislation simply don’t work,” he said.

“The Northern Territory euthanasia legislation enacted in 1996 was promoted as including strong safeguards but they didn’t work. There are significant doubts about whether two of the four people who died under these laws (repealed nine months later) were actually terminally ill. Of the seven people whose deaths were associated with the laws, four were said to have symptoms of depression.

“In the Netherlands where euthanasia has been practiced since the 1990s, 1000 people per year are killed without their consent. The Dutch experience shows that so-called voluntary euthanasia quickly becomes non-voluntary euthanasia.

“Euthanasia endangers the lives of the most vulnerable, the people we should be striving hardest to protect. As a society, we should be seeking to ease people’s pain through better palliative care, not promoting killing as an alternative to helping them,” he said. “We should also be considering the message euthanasia laws send to the disabled and elderly. No society has the right to create an expectation that you should terminate your life if you would otherwise be an ‘inconvenience’ to society. This would be a dreadful situation.”

Mr Ward said that the SA Parliament should be affirming the unique and intrinsic worth of all human beings, no matter what their physical, mental or emotional state might be. He called on all parliamentarians to vote against the bill.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan 0408 875 979 or Rob Ward on 0408 348 352.