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Voluntary Assisted Dying

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes adults have a right to end their own lives, with or without assistance, and to have access to information to help them do it.

The ACT Liberal Democrats believes in the inalienable right of individuals to end their lives painlessly, at a time of their choosing, and to be legally able to obtain information and assistance to do so with dignity.

The ACT Liberal Democrats is committed to enacting legislation to allow adults the right to assisted suicide provided there are appropriate safety mechanisms to ensure consent is given freely and confirmed.

We are not ignorant of the practical difficulties in developing this legislation or the risks associated with poor or ineffective safeguards. However, there are many international models that can be considered and upon which legislation could be modelled.

The ACT Liberal Democrats believe that the principle of control over one’s body is the most fundamental expression of individual freedom. If the law prevents rational adults from making free choices about what we can do with our own bodies then we are not really free at all.

When cancer, degenerative disease or some other ailment renders a person’s life no longer worth living, that person should be free to choose to end their lives. The person should be able to escape pain and the tragic indignities of a failing body and die painlessly and peacefully, as medical technology currently permits.

In 1997, with the tacit support of both the Liberal and Labor parties, Kevin Andrews MP succeeded in pushing a private members Bill through Federal Parliament that overturned the first law to legalise assisted suicide in Australia, enacted in the Northern Territory.  This is despite opinion polls showing that around 70% of Australians are in favour of some form of voluntary assisted dying.

While most fair-minded people accept that painlessly terminating the suffering of animals is a humane act of compassion (a fact recognised by the law), the law prohibits the application of the same principle to ourselves.

The Liberal Democratic Party, as a party that supports individual rights and freedom of choice, rejects this cruel approach. While we are cognisant that there are federal limitations on the power of the ACT Government, we would be passionate advocates for the rights of ACT citizens on this issue.

 

The official page of the Liberal Democratic Party in the Australian Capital Territory. Authorised by Guy Jakeman, Florey, ACT, 2615