Press release: End of Life Arrangement Bill

Wed, 2011-09-28 10:30 -- SACCL
Released on 27 September 2011

The South Australian Council of Civil Liberties believes that those with a terminal illness, should have the right to terminate their lives at a time and in the circumstances of their choosing.

Whilst the proposed bill does not provide that right, it is a small step in the right direction.

It is well known that doctors, at the request of their patients and families, do aid patients in hastening the end of their lives. It would be regrettable if such an act of mercy were to become the basis of a prosecution of the doctor or nurse.

The Council does not consider that the bill enables a doctor or nurse to act in anything other than a responsible manner in assisting a person in hastening their death.

To qualify for the defence, a doctor would need to prove that their actions had been requested by their patient and that in all the circumstances, their actions were a reasonable response to the suffering of the person. Further, it can only occur in circumstances where the person’s illness, injury or medical condition, irreversibly impairs that persons quality of life to an extent that life has become intolerable.

The Council urges Members of Parliament to vote for this bill, but also to consider for the future, a bill that allows for the proper regulation for the voluntary euthanasia.

Stephen Kenny
Spokesperson for the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties