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Articles on Euthanasia

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There is precious little dignity available for those Australians who are in the last stages of their lives. shutterstock

The slow politics of dignity for the aged and dying in Australia

The contrast between rights with dignity and rights without is increasingly apparent with regard to two groups of Australians: retirees and those in aged-care facilities.
Too stringent an approach to assisted dying risks locking people with mental illness out of the right to make decisions about the end of their lives. Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Should people with acute mental suffering be allowed to die?

Euthanasia advocates often assert a distinction between dying with dignity (good) and suicide (bad), drawing on the community’s twin commitment to both permitting euthanasia in some circumstances, and…
Terminal cancer patient Peter Short gives evidence on voluntary euthanasia to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which tabled its report on Monday. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

How to draw the line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reasons to die

A Senate inquiry into legalising voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill people has recommended a conscience vote on the proposed bill after technical matters, such as what constitutes a “terminal illness…
Historical evidence of suicide rates varying with the philosophy of the times urges caution about adopting an unqualified libertarian stance that privileges autonomy above all else. Arallyn!/Flickr

Do people really have the right to a rational suicide?

Seven Australians will die today as a result of suicide, the leading cause of death in young Australian men. So the media interest surrounding one in particular, that of 45-year-old Nigel Brayley’s suicide…
If Senator Richard di Natale were to win the federal parliament’s support for his bill to legalise euthanasia, it would probably override state bans. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: could federal law end the state bans on euthanasia?

Greens senator Richard Di Natale is circulating a bill to legalise euthanasia throughout Australia, the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Exposure Draft Bill. The key provision permits – subject to…
Philip Nitschke and David Leyonhjelm have appealed libertarian ideals in their arguments for euthanasia and same-sex marriage respectively. Joe Castro & Luca Koch/AAP

Strange bedfellows: euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and libertarianism

The suspension of Philip Nitschke’s medical registration, and the events leading up to it, has sparked one of the most heated discussions about euthanasia in Australia for some time. What’s surprising…
Dr Philip Nitschke admits advising a healthy 45-year-old man who later killed himself. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Memo to Philip Nitschke: let’s keep euthanasia for the dying

People who operate on the edge risk falling over it and into the abyss. And euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke has been in freefall since it emerged he had email contact with a healthy 45-year-old West…
In the current era of hi-tech medicine, the word euthanasia has been stretched to encompass a broad range of interventions. Guian Bolisay/Flickr

Let’s be clear about what we mean when we say euthanasia

Debate about euthanasia flares up in Australia every few months but, for some reason, it never gets very far. The latest round started late last month, when urologist and campaigner for voluntary euthanasia…
Lawfully allowing a patient to die should be kept distinct from euthanasia. Shutterstock

Withdrawing life-prolonging treatment not the same as killing

There is a clear legal distinction in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States between withdrawing life-prolonging treatment – such as ventilation for a person who can’t breathe unaided, or…
Belgium is a world away from Australia on this issue, with a completely different culture and history of euthanasia. Image from

Belgium’s child euthanasia law – implications for Australia

Late last week, the Belgian parliament passed laws that granted children access to euthanasia. The laws have been controversial and attracted significant discussion internationally. Opponents of reform…
Our health system is geared towards saving lives – even when the person being revived might not want to live. Julie Kertesz

How the care conveyor belt tortures people back to life

ABC’s Four Corners tonight is about a young man who has decided to end his life after 36 years of suffering a debilitating illness. But because euthanasia is illegal in Australia, he has to apply to another…
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has proposed a framework for ‘voluntary assisted dying’ with Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim. AAP/Alan Porritt

Tasmania could lead the way for voluntary euthanasia laws

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings and Leader of the Tasmanian Greens Nick McKim have released a discussion paper that outlines and seeks comment on a proposed framework for “voluntary assisted dying”. The…
We need a debate that considers the empirical evidence about voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. Anne/Flickr

Starting the debate on voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide

Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are never far from the public spotlight. But we still haven’t had an honest and open debate about this issue in Australia. End-of-life matters crop up from time…

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