Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (Australia)
Passed by the Territorial Parliament on May 25, 1995 under the stewardship of Marshall Perron and entering into law on July 1, 1996, the Act allowed terminally ill patients to commit medically assisted suicide, either by the direct involvement of a physician or by procurement of drugs. It required a somewhat lengthy application process designed to ensure that the patients were both mentally competent to make the decision and in fact terminally ill.
The passage of the bill—one of the first of its kind in the world—provoked a furore in Australia, and indeed in much of the rest of the world. The Act received both widespread support from "death with dignity" groups who saw it as model to be followed elsewhere, and widespread condemnation from euthanasia opponents who sought to overturn it.
The Northern Territory proved to be unwavering in its support for the proposal, and its repeal did not appear to be in sight. Support in the rest of Australia was much weaker, however, and opponents began turning to the federal Parliament, demanding it nullify the law. On March 25, 1997, the Parliament did so, passing the Voluntary Euthanasia Laws Bill that amended the Norther Territory's Charter with the provision that the Territorial Legislature no longer has the power to pass laws legalising euthanasia (it did leave open the possibility of the Territory making laws regarding withholding life support).
While the law was in effect, four people committed suicide through its provisions. An additional two had received approval to do so when the law was nullified; a proposed amendment to the Voluntary Euthanasia Laws Bill allowing them to proceed did not pass.
- Northern Territory site on the Act - Contains links to parliamentary debates surrounding the Act as well as full texts of the Act and its nullification.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details