If you’ve dreamed of shipping off to Australia, hunting some crocodiles, throwing a few sticks for a dingo, boxing with a kangaroo, wrangling a few snakes, chomping on a vegemite sandwich (like the song says), putting a shrimp on the barbie, and then getting someone to kill you, you’re not super considerate — that person, even if they’re a doctor, will likely be charged with murder.
But that almost wasn’t the case.
An assisted suicide bill narrowly failed to pass in the land Down Under Wednesday, thanks to the reversal of two members of the Senate.
Senators Anne Ruston and Steve Martin (who, thankfully, wasn’t a Jerk), turned against the bill, having initially expressed support for it.
That put the count at 36 to 34, siding with life. The issue was debated for two days.
A federal law prohibits Australian territories from passing legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide without federal approval. The bill attempted to overturn that.
Assisted suicide was legalized in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1995. It was overturned by Parliament in 1997.
Despite the outcome Wednesday, it’s doubtful the debate is over. According to former Australian Medical Association president — and co-director of pro-euthanasia group Go Gentle Australia — more than 80% of Australians favor the legalization of death by assistance.
As for Steve Martin, he didn’t want to vote for any legislation that might make him seem like A Wild and Crazy Guy:
“I cannot in good conscience offer my support to this bill which will provide the territories the ability to legislate in the area of voluntary euthanasia, certainly without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place.”
Senator David Leyonhjelm, author of the bill, thinks his collegues who voted against it are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels:
“All Australians, no matter where they live, have the right to decide for themselves when it comes to end of life treatment.
“It makes no sense that people living in the state of Victoria now have some control over the manner in which they chose to die in the face of intolerable suffering, yet other Australians are denied even having the chance to vote on such a critical issue.”
Thank you for reading! Assisted suicide is an emotional issue for many. What are your thoughts on the topic? Please let us know in the Comments section below.
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