End of Life Choices Inquiry

by Dr Elisabeth Taylor

The ACT Legislative Assembly (through a select committee) is conducting an inquiry into End-of-Life Choices in the ACT. We know, from the campaign in Victoria, that written submissions from local voices are pivotal to swaying committee discussions against legalising euthanasia. A single letter from a constituent detailing their personal story has as much influence as an academic research paper from the health services.

If you would like to research the issues a little more deeply for yourself go to: http://www.noeuthanasia.org.au/issues.


Please consider contributing your voice to this discussion, particularly detailing:

  • Positive experiences with palliative care, or the experience of a loved one in palliative care.
    • If euthanasia is legalised in the ACT, it is very unlikely that palliative care will receive adequate funding in the future.
  • Positive experiences of Clare Holland house in Barton (Canberra’s only hospice, which is always fully occupied).
    • In the Netherlands, euthanasia has made the hospice system all but obsolete.
  • Experiences around misdiagnosis of (or recovery from) terminal illness.
    • In Vermont, stories about people who had recovered from terminal illness (or for whom a terminal illness had been misdiagnosed) and enjoyed years of life were particularly persuasive
  • Concerns about elder abuse.
    • Euthanasia obviously makes it easier for family members to pressure the elderly to end their lives early.
    • It also creates the conditions in which the elderly are more likely to feel like they are a burden and that ‘voluntary-suicide’ is ‘the right thing to do’.
  • Concerns around depression and suicide prevention.
    • If suicide is made legitimate in some circumstances, inevitably it effects those contemplating suicide for non-medical reasons. The Victorian discussion acknowledged that extra suicides were inevitable ‘collateral damage’ from the legalisation of euthanasia but was willing to accept this.

It is important that the committee receives many submissions from ordinary citizens. Letters do not need to be long or academic. Personal stories are a powerful mechanism for combating the push towards legalised euthanasia.  Your information may be from personal experiences, from the experiences of a loved one, or examples from professional involvement with the caring professions. If you have a story, please make sure the select committee gets to hear it!

The Committee prefers submissions to be type-written and submitted in electronic form, although handwritten submissions are also acceptable.  All submissions should include an email address, a postal address and a telephone contact number.

Submissions are to be sent to: LACommitteeEOLC@parliament.act.gov.au

Submissions are due on Friday, 23 March 2018. Details of the Inquiry can be found here: https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/in-committees/select_committees/end-of-life-choices