Paul Russell - HOPE Australia, November 28, 2012
On Monday the 26th of November Senator Di Natale introduced a new bill to overturn the Federal Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 which prohibited all three Australian Territories with limited self-government from passing laws on euthanasia & assisted suicide.
Only days earlier, retired Senator Bob Brown’s Bill with the same ends was finally withdrawn from the Senate Notice Paper. Interestingly, Di Natale’s bill was identical to that moved by Senator Brown in 2010.
|Australia's Federal Parliament|
Former Chief Minister of the NT, Marshall Perron and architect of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (ROTI) (which was in force in the Northern territory for a brief period before the Federal Bill took precedence) has argued that this new Di Natale Bill should not be subject to a conscience vote because it was principally about Territory Rights and not about euthanasia.
Not so. The debate in 1996/97 on the Euthanasia Laws Act was essentially about whether or not the ROTI act was in keeping with good government and whether or not the Federal responsibility for the good government of the territories included not allowing euthanasia & assisted suicide legislation to stand. It was a debate about euthanasia in the context of the territories and their constitutional relationship to the Federal Parliament.
If we needed any more proof that this is about euthanasia, we would only need look to recent comments from politicians in both the ACT and the NT. ACT MLC, Shane Rattenbury confirmed to ABC News that he supported the Di Natale move and would look to drafting legislation at some future moment. Likewise, the Speaker of the NT Legislative Assembly, Kezia Purick also told the ABC that she would look to introduce a private member’s bill. The NT News said that the NT Labor Leader, Delia Lawrie, supports the idea of euthanasia.
Lawrie also added that she doubted that the Di Natale push would be successful.