Thursday, November 25, 2010

Euthanasia bill defeated in South Australia, euthanasia lobby suggests another bill next year

The Parnell/Key euthanasia bill was defeated in the South Australian legislature on Wednesday, November 24, by the voice vote. Parnell pulled the bill from receiving a final vote but admitted that the bill was probably going to be defeated by a vote of 12 to 9.

After the bill was defeated it was suggested that another bill will be brought before the legislature next year.

This is a significant victory.

Last year a similar bill was defeated by a vote of 11 to 9. Since then, South Australia had elections that resulted in 3 of the 11 members who opposed euthanasia being defeated. It was significant that two more Liberal members moved to oppose the bill.

An article by Michael Cook stated:
Liberal Jing Lee, a swinging voter, was not convinced either. "There are many problems with this Bill," she said. "What I am afraid of is voluntary euthanasia will inevitably mean in some cases involuntary euthanasia."

Family First MLC Dennis Hood argued that the bill had too many loopholes. He claimed that it allowed euthanasia for patients without a terminal illness and allowed people to take out life insurance policies shortly before undergoing euthanasia. Referral to psychiatrists was only optional in the bill and the proposed Voluntary Euthanasia Board was “toothless”. “This was a dangerous proposal and I’m glad it is off the table now so that we can get on with serious business for South Australia,” said Mr Hood.

An article by Sarah Martin that was published in Adelaide Now stated:
The Bill, prepared by Greens MLC Mark Parnell and ALP backbencher Steph Key, was defeated "on the voices" and did not go to a vote after debate indicated it would be defeated.

Mr Parnell said some key members had expressed in-principle support for voluntary euthanasia which had "left the door open" for future legislation.

"Of course we are disappointed the Bill didn't pass the Upper House last night, but this by no means is the end of the debate," he said.

"The Bill Steph Key and I have introduced is still very much alive in the Lower House (and) it's time for the Lower House to start doing some heavy lifting on this issue."

The debate lasted several hours, with about 12 members indicating they would vote against the Bill.

Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke said the defeat of the Bill was a "significant setback".

"Unless there are some lessons learnt from this experience and changes made, it is hard to hold out much hope for the voluntary euthanasia legislation to be presented to the SA Lower House next year."

The group HOPE (saying no to euthanasia) needs to be congratulated for the defeat of the bill. HOPE organized an effective opposition and lobbying campaign to defeat the bill.

Thank you to Paul Russell and the team at HOPE.

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