By Amy Xia
The end on an individual’s life is a highly emotional time; some contend that people deserve the choice of a dignified, pain-free passing. Unfortunately, end-of-life care is deeply entrenched in legal issues in Australia, which has made it more difficult for Aussies to take control of the circumstances of their passing. Attempts to change these policies have been largely unsuccessful. Aside from a short period of time in the mid-nineties when euthanasia was legal, Australians haven’t had the legal power to control the circumstances of their passing. According to the Australian Constitution, the federal Parliament has jurisdiction over medical services including those for terminally ill patients; the option of dying with dignity remains in the hands of this governmental body.
In 2014, the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) bill was introduced. The legislation would make euthanasia legal under certain circumstances. The conditions stipulate that any patient seeking to hasten death must have two doctors independently reach the same prognosis of the patient’s condition, and a psychiatrist must confirm that the patient is not clinically depressed.
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