A powerful voice in the Australian government has called for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. Although Federal Parliament quashed a euthanasia law in the Northern Territory back in 1997, Senator Amanda Vanstone, the minister for immigration, wants the states to "have another go". "I am in favour of us developing sane, sensible and humane euthanasia laws," she told the media. "And I think it’s inhumane not to do so. Most people take their loved pet to the vet so it doesn’t have to go through terrible agony in the last few days or hours of its life, but we can’t find a way to arrange that for humans."
Senator Vanstone and two other Federal politicians will speak at a conference organised by euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke later this week on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Northern Territory’s bill in 1996. In the nine months that it was in force, four people died, all with the assistance of Dr Nitschke.
The anniversary is also being used to publicise a book, Telling It Straight, by a man who helped another patient of Dr Nitschke’s to die in 2002. Nancy Crick took a lethal cocktail of barbiturates in the presence of 20 supporters in the state of Queensland. Assisted suicide being illegal there, police investigated, but no charges were laid. However, in the book author John Edge has detailed how he disposed of some potentially incriminating evidence. Police may now reopen the case.
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