Progressive think-tank Australia21* today released a discussion paper authored by QUT law academics Professor Ben White and Professor Lindy Willmott as background to a high-level roundtable discussion on the topic “How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia (VE) and assisted suicide (AS)?”, to be held in January
Professor White and Professor Willmott, from QUT’s Health Law Research Centre in the Faculty of Law, bring eight years of intensive research on the legal aspects of such life and death issues.
Professor White said the paper presents the main arguments in favour of and against legalisation of VE and AS dispassionately and without taking sides on the issue.
“On the one hand it would seem many Australians are keen to see a change in the legal framework surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide,” Professor White said.
“While on the other hand, efforts to have the issue properly considered by parliamentary committee (often introduced by the minor political parties or cross benchers) have been thwarted by intense lobbying by special interest groups.”
Australia21 Chair Paul Barratt AO said: “Australia21 is again promoting dialogue on an issue which stirs strong emotions and on which politicians find themselves in a quandary.”
“The discussion paper summarises international experience on this matter as well as previous efforts in Australia to have the issue debated in state and federal parliaments,” Mr Barratt said.
“It sets the scene for the roundtable in January 2013 that will bring together people from both sides of the VE and AS debate to consider the discussion paper and its key question: How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide?”
*Australia21 is a not-for-profit R and D company that seeks to address major issues for Australia this century.
The report can be downloaded from the Australia21 website www.australia21.org.au
Professor Ben White 07 3138 4066; 0468 682 119
Professor Lindy Willmott 07 3138 5205; 0419 706 214
Professor Bob Douglas AO Roundtable Convenor 0409 233 138
QUT media contact: Niki Widdowson, 07 3138 2999 or email@example.com