ACT's radical euthanasia law raises concerns over teen deaths

Federal Opposition warns of wrongful deaths as proposed legislation permits assisted dying for 14-year-olds.

ACT's radical euthanasia law raises concerns over teen deaths
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Radical euthanasia legislation proposed by the ACT government would lead to the wrongful death of teenagers, the Federal Opposition has warned.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs James Paterson said the mooted laws, which would permit access to assisted dying for children as young as 14, were dangerous and should be voted down.

The laws would almost certainly lead to “wrongful deaths”, he said.

The ACT government today released its euthanasia proposal with the intention of legislating it before the end of the year.

The territory’s Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne has said she would like to give minors as young as 14 access to euthanasia.

"I'm instinctively uncomfortable with that,” Paterson told Sky News.

“I voted against allowing the ACT to legislate for euthanasia, not because I don't recognise the freedom that some people desire to control the timing of the end of their life but because I believe euthanasia can never be made completely safe.

"And one wrongful death under a euthanasia scheme in my view is one too many.

“The risk of that increases the lower age you get to, the more vulnerable people are involved, and I would hate to think of a young person being put to death wrongfully under a euthanasia scheme as a result of the ACT changes.”

Ms Cheyne she did not like “arbitrary” age limits that determined who could and could not be legally put to death.

She quoted survey’s saying only 32 per cent of people in the ACT believed euthanasia should only be available to adults.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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