Territory governments can’t be trusted with euthanasia
I am writing to ask you to vote against the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 to clear the way for legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
This bill, euphemistically named the “Restoring Territory Rights Bill” deals with only one right, the right of territory governments to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The territory governments have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to safely manage an issue as significant and final as euthanasia. They have failed to provide adequate palliative care for their residents, have mismanaged their health and hospital systems, and yet now their leaders are instead pushing for the right to kill patients.
The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) put vulnerable Territorians at risk, as shown by a clinical study conducted in relation to the seven deaths associated with the law.
Additionally, the Northern Territory government’s handling of the Stronger Futures legislation has shown its incompetence at managing alcohol restrictions in communities, leading to a huge rise in domestic and sexual violence as well as hospital admissions.
Please vote ‘no’ to the passage of the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Territory governments will pass extreme euthanasia laws
I am writing to ask you to vote against the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 that would put the fate of vulnerable Territorians in the hands of a few.
As unicameral systems, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have no houses of review. These parliaments, with just 25 members each, would be able to quickly rush through the most extreme euthanasia laws. Members of the ACT government have already indicated support for very radical euthanasia laws.
A simple majority of just 13 people should not be enough to legislate and authorise the death of vulnerable Territorians.
The Commonwealth Parliament therefore serves as the only restraint on legislation that is passed by the territory legislatures, and it is vital the Commonwealth retains the ability to safeguard against the passing of radical legislation. It should not abrogate this important responsibility conferred to it by the Constitution.
I urge you to consider the need for review, restraint and regulation on this significant matter of life and death in the Territories.
Please vote ‘no’ to the passage of the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Elder abuse and euthanasia a dangerous mix
I would like to urge you to vote against the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 which will open the door for the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Over the last decade it has become clear that elder abuse and the risk of elder abuse are increasing threats in Australia.
A survey of Australians over 65 in the 2021 National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that 14.8% reported experiencing at least one form of elder abuse in the last 12 months, and was most common in women.
Psychological abuse was most commonly reported 11.7%, followed by neglect 2.9%, financial abuse 2.1%, physical abuse 1.8%, and sexual abuse 1%.
If an individual is unable to take care of themselves, has reduced decision-making capabilities and/or financial management issues, their vulnerability to be pressured into euthanasia by family members or others responsible for their care increases.
It would be recklessly negligent of the Senate to pave the way for euthanasia in the territories before putting in place a system to effectively address the scourge of elder abuse. If we cannot tackle elder abuse, there is no reason to believe that we can adequately safeguard against abuse when it comes to euthanasia and assisted suicide for our vulnerable elderly.
Please protect our elderly and vote ‘no’ to the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Euthanasia’s dangerous message to people with disabilities
I am writing to ask you to vote against the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 which would clear the way for legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
I am concerned that, if legalised, euthanasia will be expanded from the terminally ill to people in other categories.
In countries such as Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legalised, the requirements for access continue to be expanded and used to include people for whom treatment could be made available.
Week after week, we read stories of people with disabilities in Canada, who are “choosing” euthanasia because its cheaper than receiving the health care they need to live.
Legalising euthanasia sends a devastating message to people living with disability, that for some, it might be better to be dead.
Once you make euthanasia legal, it is difficult to stop it being extended to more and more groups, and near impossible to wind it back.
Once euthanasia is legalised, it paves the way for our most vulnerable to be killed.
Please vote to protect vulnerable Australians living with disability, please vote ‘no’ to the passage of the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Euthanasia puts Indigenous Australians’ health at greater risk
I’m writing to ask you to listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Territories, and vote ‘no’ to the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Euthanasia is fundamentally at odds with Indigenous culture.
The 1996 Northern Territory euthanasia laws were adamantly opposed by Indigenous people. 25 years on, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are facing high rates of disease and, with a lack of access to basic palliative care services, remain particularly vulnerable to euthanasia legislation.
The Commonwealth parliament has an important and non-delegable responsibility to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is imperative therefore that it retains this right to oversee laws that could have such an adverse effect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
It is important that we listen to Indigenous voices on such an issue as significant as euthanasia and assisted suicide. I urge you to hear what Indigenous Australians are saying and reject the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Please put the safety and dignity of Indigenous Australians first, vote ‘no’.
Unbearable pain is not the main reason for overseas euthanasia
I am writing to oppose the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022, aimed at paving the way for euthanasia and assisted suicide to be made legal in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
In places where euthanasia and/or assisted suicide have been legalised, data shows that those who are asking to die are, in the majority, doing so for reasons that have nothing to do with the experience of pain.
In Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal for the last 20 years, the top 5 reasons given for requesting assisted suicide do not mention untreatable pain.
The top reasons given are:
· Losing autonomy (90.9%)
· Less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable (89.5%)
· Loss of dignity (75.7%)
· Losing control of bodily functions (45.7%)
· Burden on family, friends/caregivers (43.7%)
In Canada last year, 1,741 people who died by euthanasia did so because of reasons of isolation and loneliness.
Please do not accept legislation that would make it easier for territories to pass legislation that ignores the underlying issues of loneliness and isolation.
As a country, we can and should do better than helping people end their lives due to isolation and loneliness.
Please vote ‘no’ to the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
It’s not about Territory rights, it’s about euthanasia
I am writing to ask you to reject the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 that would have the effect of making it easier for euthanasia and assisted suicide to be made legal in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Despite the rhetoric around the bill, we know that it is not a bill about “territory rights”, but rather about the legalisation of euthanasia in the territories.
If it was purely a territory rights bill, the Labor party would not have granted its members a conscience vote, which it only does for moral and social issues, such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. It has clearly understood what this bill is actually about.
The Commonwealth Parliament, in 1998, after examining this issue carefully, made the decision that a ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide for the territories was important, given the disproportionate effect such laws would have on the Indigenous population. It properly exercised the responsibility conferred on it by the Constitution, especially regarding the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This law has worked to support the Commonwealth government’s ongoing “Closing the Gap” initiative, focused on the health and life-expectancy of Indigenous Australians.
I urge you not to allow that good work to be undone, by voting against the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
Please vote ‘no’ to the Bill.