All states have now legalised murder-suicide, but the practice is (thankfully) still illegal Northern Territory (NT), Canberra (ACT) and Norfolk Island, although that may change under the Labor government.
How we got here
Following the introduction of the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (which legalised euthanasia), the Federal Parliament – led by Kevin Andrews – passed the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 which prevented the Territories from enacting this legislation. It was able to do this because under section 122 of the Australian Constitution, Federal Law overrides Territory Laws.
In 2015, the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill 2015 was introduced to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997. This Bill was defeated in the Senate in August 2018.
Since then, the NT and ACT have requested the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 to be repealed, but this request was denied by the Federal Attorney-General in March 2021.
More recently, another Federal bill was introduced: Ensuring Northern Territory Rights Bill 2021 which would allow the NT to legalise euthanasia, but this bill has yet to be debated in the Senate.
In Summary, the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 is currently safeguarding lives in the NT, ACT and Norfolk Island.
Where we are at now
In a press event, Labor’s Health and Aged Care Minister, Mark Butler, said he is seeking to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, openly stating “I am a supporter of voluntary assisted dying” and comments the Act is an “overreach”.
No journalists cared to ask Mr Butler about NT’s inadequate palliative care system. Research studies show a “serious lack of local, culturally appropriate palliative care services” for Aboriginal people in the NT. Not to mention NT’s already desperate staff shortages in places such as Katherine hospital. Patient transport is another significant challenge in the NT, which is Australia’s most sparsely populated jurisdiction. PallCareNT.org.au, NT’s peak body for Palliative Care, acknowledges: “palliative care is a universal human right”. Although there has been some progress, there is still a long way to go before palliative care can be available to everyone who needs it in the NT.
Mark Butler – our “Health” Minister – supports the poisoning of patients who are without proper palliative care.
Many Labor and Coalition MPs including the Prime Minister,,, supported the repealing of the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 by passing the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022 on Monday 3rd August 2022.
What does God have to say about this?
This is not about giving back Territories their so-called “rights”, because only God – the giver of life – has rights over human life and our government is under God’s authority (Job 1:21; Romans 13:1).
God forbids murder, even when it is of our own bodies, since our bodies were bought at a price (Exodus 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:20).
Instead of putting them to death, God’s decree for end-of-life sufferers is this: for them to put their hope in His Son Jesus Christ, who suffered for us on the cross, to grant us an eternity where there will no longer be crying, sadness or pain (1 John 3:23; Revelation 21:4).
What should Christians do?
Prayerfully write to your local MP
As with everything, the first thing to do is pray to our Sovereign Lord.
Prayerfully exercise your duty as a citizen to write to your local MP to keep the Territories free from murder-suicide by preserving the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 and invest in more palliative services to safeguard the lives of the most vulnerable.
Plead with pro-euthanasia church members
You are likely to find pro-euthanasia advocates in your church. Instead of shirking away from the issue, this is a great opportunity to bring up the conversation by asking fellow church members:
“Have you heard about what the government is going to do with euthanasia in the Territories?”
Christian unity is based on the truth. To shirk away from the truth will only unite us with the world. You may like to pass on this article to members of your church to stimulate discussion. Plead with them to consider the truths of Scripture mentioned above.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
– Written by Patrick Jason, Evangelicals for Life
Edited by Patricia Christian and Peter Barnes
McGrath, Holewa, H., & Kail-Buckley, S. (2007). “They Should Come Out Here …”: Research Findings on Lack of Local Palliative Care Services for Australian Aboriginal People. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 24(2), 105–113. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909106297069
Taylor, Thackrah, R. D., & Thompson, S. C. (2022). Improving Access to Cancer Treatment Services in Australia’s Northern Territory—History and Progress. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(13), 7705–. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137705