A group of eminent Tasmanians have just released a great resource which answers questions about euthanasia:

You will be able to hear about true dignity and the dangers of euthanasia to our society by such experts as: Dr Jeremy Prichard (Criminal Law Lecturer),Dr Nicholas Cooling (Senior Lecturer & GP),The Honourable William Cox (Former Governor of Tasmania), Professor Ray Rowenthal (Director Medical Oncology), Dr Paul Dunne (Palliative Care Specialist), The Honourable Ray Groom (Southern Cross Care), Professor Michael Tate (International Law Lecturer) and Dr Kristi Giselsson (Doctor of Philosophy).

 Below are links to questions that can be answered from this website:

Q1: What is euthanasia and assisted suicide?

Euthanasia is the deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person in order to relieve that person’s suffering.
Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both.

Q2: What is the legal position of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Tasmania?

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Tasmania. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in all states and territories of Australia; and in almost all other countries in the world.

Q3: What are my rights with regard to discontinuing medical treatment? If death results, isn’t this a form of euthanasia?

  1. Patients do not receive unwanted, burdensome and futile treatments.
  2. A competent adult may refuse medical treatment even if that refusal will result in his or her death…

Q4:But what about all those people who are near death and suffer intolerable pain?

Whilst it is important to recognise the difficulties experienced by the small number of  individuals suffering such pain, what is clear from this finding is that in those small number of cases, terminal sedation or the administration of pain relief is a legally acceptable response. There is no need to introduce intentional killing as a treatment option.

Q5:Aren’t doctors already practising euthanasia in Tasmania by administering pain killers to deliberately end lives?

It is important to note that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is not a component of palliative care. Palliative Care Australia, the national peak body for Palliative Care in Australia states that ‘The practice of palliative and end of life care does not include deliberate ending of life through voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, even if the patient requests this

Q6:Opinion polls show an overwhelming support for freedom of choice in euthanasia. Why not just go with public opinion?

Often the questions asked in opinion polls are ambiguous or not situated in the correct context Opinion polls show that the closer a person is involved in palliative care and with the dying, the less likely that person is to be in favour of euthanasia.

Lots more helpful information at  Also, Euthanasia: Care or Killing?

Comments — 2 Comments

  1. I am sincerely thankful that such respected and respectable people have published their wisdom on this subject, and hope that in doing so the voice of reason and compassion will be heard and received into this emotive debate. Having experience as an aged-care chaplain has given me some valuable insights into this difficult area.

  2. It appears to me that these ‘experts’ are saying that patients are not capable of making a decision with regard to their suffering and that they know better than their patients. There is no choice for those people who have had enough. One of the reasons that some patients have not asked for assistance to die was probably because they were no longer capable of asking for anything! What 85% of adult Australians (Newspoll Feb 2007) request is the choice in their own end of life decisions. Those people who do not want assistance to end their pain, DO NOT have to ask for such assistance. Those people who do ask, would then be assessed as to the reasons for such a request and if it should be that they are suffering depression it can then be treated instead of being ignored.
    Anyone who thinks that such a legislation can be abused should study the safety guidelines in place in countries where they have had compassionate law for decades.
    The Australian Bureau of Statistics showing the rate of suicide in the elderly (3 per week) shows that people who have had enough will seek methods available to them to end their lives, which are usually horrendous and this situation should be stopped by allowing a change in legislation. My life, my choice!

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