Dying with Dignity ACT says everyone deserves a peaceful death

Dying with Dignity ACT is a non-profit organisation of volunteers committed to law reform that will enable ACT citizens to have end-of-life assistance so they can have a peaceful death.
Dying with Dignity ACT is a non-profit organisation of volunteers committed to law reform that will enable ACT citizens to have end-of-life assistance so they can have a peaceful death.

Dying with Dignity ACT is an incorporated body with around 100 members. Their prime purpose is to reform the law so that everyone may have a peaceful death.

"Obstacles to the achievement of our goal lie in Federal and ACT law that is based on ancient religious ideas that very few people believe today," a Dying with Dignity ACT (DWDACT) spokesperson said.

Recently DWDACT wrote to the chief minister to request that the ACT Assembly moves:

  • That Section 17 of the Crimes Act and The Euthanasia Laws Act are inconsistent with the ACT Human Rights Act and informs the Federal Parliament and ACT citizens when it has done so.
  • The ACT Government makes a challenge in the High Court to the Euthanasia Laws Act as a breach of Section 116 of the Australian Constitution which states that the Federal Parliament may not make law to impose religious observances.
  • The ACT Government begins to work with the Northern Territory Government to negotiate a change to Section 122 of the Australian Constitution which will ensure that citizens in territories with well-established legislatures of five to 10 years can operate as states and have the rights that states have as outlined in the constitution.

The spokesperson said, "The non-response to our letter confirms that the Government is continuing its passive aggressive strategy of:

  1. Maintaining the law
  2. Not challenging the Federal Euthanasia Laws Act
  3. Not charging Canberrans who are breaking the law by obtaining Nembutal.

"This keeps the support of the many religious in their political party, avoids the publicity that the arrest of old people who are acting illegally should be incurring and sidesteps the only reasonable compromise in relation to this law i.e. to give assistance to die.

"This is the only reasonable compromise because no-one is suggesting that the religious may not continue to practise the observance of dying without assistance in compliance with their religious rules.

"But most people do not believe this observance or want it imposed on them. This is why the law should change."

For decades many Australians have believed that those who are suffering intolerably from a terminal or advanced stage of an incurable illness should have the legal right to request and obtain medical assistance to end their lives with dignity.

DWDACT invites Canberrans to join the call to remove the current laws requiring us to endure suffering when we die. They rely on the strength of their membership to support their efforts.

To find out further information or to become a member go to the Dying with Dignity ACT website at dwdact.org.au. You can also phone 5104 0920 or send them an email to inquiry@dwdact.org.au

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