Polls show that more than 75% of Australians support voluntary euthanasia and would like to see the introduction of new laws regarding it.
Which is why television and radio personality Andrew Denton has founded the advocacy group “Go Gentle Australia”.
“Go Gentle Australia” believe that it is the “right of all Australians to have a choice about what happens to them at the end of their lives and not to be forced, when they are at their most vulnerable, into cruel and avoidable suffering”.
A long-time supporter of the cause, Andrew Denton was personally moved by the cause when his own father passes away slowly from heart disease nearly 20 years ago.
Denton explains that the “Go Gentle Australia” campaign is about fairness, dignity and choice.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation also support Denton and his campaign, mainly because of the pain and suffering that is seen, and helplessness that is felt, by the nurses and midwives who care these patients.
Legalising voluntary euthanasia is a topic that has been long debated in Australia. It puts patients or their loved ones in control of their own lives and allows them die with dignity. Various countries around the worlds have already adopted such laws.
Assisted dying has been legalised in a number of countries around the world, this includes Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada and certain US states.
Shadow Justice Minister, Clare O’Neil, recently told Q&A that in countries where voluntary euthanasia is legal, that only a “very, very small” numbers of people were using the laws.
Research conducted at the end of 2016 showed that between 0.3% to 4.6% of all deaths are reported as euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in jurisdictions where they are legal, and that there was little evidence that the laws were being abused.
In the US, it was found that pain was not the primary motivator in the choice utilise the laws, rather, it was the loss of dignity and not being able to enjoy life’s activities.
The same was exhibited in the European countries where it was legal, with loss of dignity is mentioned as a reason for 61% of cases in the Netherlands and 52% in Belgium.
Last November , the South Australian euthanasia bill was overthrown by the State Government by one vote.
The next State to take on the euthanasia bill is Victoria. A new legislation is scheduled to be introduced to their State Government in the later half of 2017, where MPs will be granted a conscience vote.