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However all laws on euthanasia, whether legal or illegal, it always done by a professional doctor in tough conditions, every state in Australia it is illegal to aid someone to commit suicide. In New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia, it is an offence for a person to ‘incite, counsel, aid or abet’ another person to commit suicide or attempt to commit suicide. In Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, it is an offence to ‘procure’ or ‘counsel’ another person to kill himself or ‘aid’ another in killing himself. In Tasmania, it is an offence to ‘instigate or aid another to kill himself’. The penalties for assisted suicide vary between jurisdictions.
Under Australian homicide laws, a doctor can be found guilty of murder, even if the doctor did not intend the patient to die, if they administer drugs knowing they might cause death and if they did in fact cause death. It was recommended that in 1991 by the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia that a legislation should be introduced to protect doctors from liability “for administering drugs or other treatment for the purpose of controlling pain, even though the drugs or other treatment may incidentally shorten the patient’s life, provided that the consent of the patient is obtained and that the administration is reasonable in all the circumstances”.
In Australia only South Australia is the only state to have clarified the law on this issue. It appears to have followed the English common law lead. Under English common law and Section 17 of the new Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 (SA), a doctor is prohibited from taking active steps to end a patient’s, however a doctor, or other health care professional acting under a doctor’s supervision , administers a pain killer to a terminally ill patient in great suffering, knowing an incidental effect will be to shorten the patient’s life, will be safe from criminal liability, providing the primary reason for giving the pain killer was to relieve suffering, not to cause death.
Euthanasia is illegal in Australia on a federal level but states and territories have legislated on the issue. It was legal for a period in the Northern Territory and in November 2017 legislation to allow assisted suicide passed the Parliament of Victoria but will not come into effect until mid-2019.The Northern Territory became the first jurisdiction in the world to pass euthanasia laws on 25 May 1995 it. This allowed doctors to end the life of a terminally ill patient at the patient’s request. The law permits both physician-assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia in some circumstances. However, under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) strict conditions apply. This Act is controversial both nationally and internationally, with both extensive criticism and extensive support for the Rights of the Terminally Act 1995 from politicians, health care professionals, religious groups, ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ pressure groups, academics, the media and members of the general public.
There are different types of euthanasia; passive voluntary euthanasia, this is when medical treatment is withdrawn or withheld from a patient, at the patient’s request, in order to end the patient’s life, active voluntary euthanasia, when medical intervention takes place, at the patient’s request, in order to end the patient’s life, passive involuntary euthanasia, this is where medical treatment is withdrawn or withheld from a patient, not at the request of the patient, in order to end the patient’s life and active involuntary euthanasia which is when medical intervention takes place, not at the patient’s request, in order to end the patient’s life. Euthanasia is the termination of a very sick person’s life, this is done to relieve them of their suffering. A person who undergoes euthanasia usually has to have an incurable condition. However, there are other instances where some people want their life to be ended.
This is where the issue lies, how ill does someone have to be and who makes that decisions? Is it ever right to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is undergoing severe pain and suffering? Under what circumstances can euthanasia be justifiable, if at all? Is there a moral difference between killing someone and letting them die? The issue has been at the centre of very heated debates for many years and raises a number of agonising moral dilemma. Where it is illegal it is a crime to assist in euthanasia, but prosecutions have been rare.
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