Political Views on Euthanasia in Australia
Political views on euthanasia in Australia can be understood well by considering the current situation in terms of euthanasia debate in this country. Euthanasia is a crime in Australia. However, prosecutions of people found practicing it are rare. In 2002, friends and relatives of an elderly woman that they offered moral support and later committed suicide did not have any charges laid against them even after an extensive investigation by the police.
Subsequently, the Commonwealth government attempted to hinder the issue of euthanasia by passing Criminal Code Amendment which comprises of the offences related to suicide in 2004. Following the passage of this Amendment, a nurse in 2005 was convicted of helping in inducing death of her father who was suffering from terminal cancer and attempting to kill the mother who was suffering from dementia in its early stages.
The nurse was sentenced to serve two and a half years imprisonment but the conviction was suspended later on the basis that community was against putting her behind bars. This started the debate of decriminalizing euthanasia. Decriminalization has gained support from different quotas even outside politics.
Among the supporters of the debate to decriminalize euthanasia in Australia include the Liberal Democratic Party, Australian Democrats, Australian Sex Party, Secular Party of Australia and Australian Greens. Euthanasia support in Australia has made the topic a hot potato in politics.
Political advocates of euthanasia argue that many people do not choose when to die and how to die. However, terminally ill persons know that their death is certainly looming. This has necessitated the call for the government to allow people to choose when to die or even choose when their loved ones should die if that will alleviate suffering from them. However, there are issues that are yet to be settled.
For instance, under what circumstance the right to die should be granted. In addition, who decides when another should die and when are some of the issues that are yet to be settled. For politicians, people with terminally ill persons, medics, philosophers and law enforcers have to be involved in the debate because they have stake in the issue.
In the Northern Territory of Australia, euthanasia was legal by Rights of the Terminally Ill Act of 1995. However, politicians voted against it later voiding it by the amendment of the Commonwealth to Northern Territory Act of 1975. Nevertheless, political view of euthanasia in Australia is divided. Some politicians support it but they fear losing their popularity among the followers of the Catholic Church and groups like HOPE that are against euthanasia.
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