Thursday, 18 October 2012

ACT Elections 20th October 2012 Candidate Survey

Updated 19th Oct at 12.01 pm
On behalf of HOPE supporters (and anyone else who might be interested) we recently conducted a survey of candidates for the ACT elections on the question of euthanasia.

The Context:
In the three emails to candidates (the third only to those who had not replied at that point) we made the following contextual statement:
In 1995, Australia became the first country to legalise euthanasia & assisted suicide via the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act in the Northern Territory.

This Act was effectively made null and void by the passage of the Euthanasia Laws Act (Cth) in the Federal Parliament which came into law in 1997.
The Euthanasia Laws Act amended the Federal Self Government Acts of the ACT, NT and Norfolk Island to remove the ability of these Australian Territories to pass laws in respect to euthanasia & assisted suicide which, into the bargain, nullified the earlier NT law.
Since that time euthanasia bills have been debated in most Australian states from time to time but none have been successful.
However, there have been various attempts in the Federal Parliament to overturn the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997. In the Senate the Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2010 is currently on the bills list.
Should this bill pass through both houses, the ACT and the NT will, once again, be able to debate and enact laws allowing euthanasia & assisted suicide.
Currently, by virtue of the Federal Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, the ACT has no power to legislate on euthanasia & assisted suicide. However, this may change during the term of the next ACT Parliament.
Each candidate was asked the following question:

If a bill was tabled that sought to allow euthanasia and/or assisted suicide in the ACT, would you support such a bill?

NB: we made it clear that we were looking for the candidate’s personal views and NOT the views of their party (if they belonged to one).

Responses:

The following candidates could not be contacted:

In all, 60 candidates received the question either directly or via a party representative.
Disappointingly, only six chose to reply:


Comment:

Perhaps ACT locals might have some opinions as to why this survey received such a poor response. I offer no comment except to re-iterate my disappointment.

It was pleasing, however, to note a NO response from the ACT Liberal Leader, Zed Seselja. While most parties don’t have a formal position on this issue (see below), the leader’s position does have some influence.

In respect to party positions, the following parties have formal positions in favour of euthanasia expressed as follows:

The Greens believe that people who are suffering from a terminal illness and who are in intolerable pain should be able to choose a peaceful and medically-induced death. (from the Canberra Catholics Vote website)

The Motorist Party believes voluntary euthanasia would be well accepted by many in the Canberra community. It should be the right of any individual to have their life ended humanely so they can pass with their dignity intact and remove months or years of hopeless suffering when reaching the desperation point of a terminal illness.

Happy voting Canberrans!

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