Australian Senate defeats euthanasia bill

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Nationals senator Steve Martin

Great news. The Australian Senate defeated the assisted suicide bill after two members of the Senate, who indicated that they would support the bill, changed their minds and voted against it.

Dana McCauley reported for The Sydney Morning Herald that:

The bill, introduced by Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm, was defeated by 36 to 34 votes after two days of impassioned debate in the Senate

It was knocked down after Liberal senator Anne Ruston and Nationals senator Steve Martin were persuaded to vote against the bill, after initially leaning in favour of it.

“I cannot in good conscience offer my support to this bill which will provide the territories the ability to legislate in the area of voluntary euthanasia, certainly without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place,” Senator Martin told the Senate on Wednesday.

James Fettes reported for ABC News that Liberal Senator Zed Seselja also unexpectedly voted no.

The bill proposed to overturn a federal law that prohibited the Territories from legislating on issues, such as euthanasia and assisted suicide, without federal approval.

Australia’s Northern Territory legalized euthanasia in 1995, but the law was overturned by Australia’s federal parliament in 1997.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.