Majority Support for Voluntary Euthanasia
19 November 2012 at 5:30 pm
The overwhelming majority of Australians support voluntary euthanasia, according to new research presented at a Dying with Dignity Forum in Sydney.
The national survey by The Australia Institute, of 1,422 people, found that 71% of Australians support the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia for people experiencing unrelievable and incurable physical and/ or mental suffering.
Opposition to voluntary euthanasia was 12%, while 17% were ‘not sure’.
The survey also revealed that of those Australians who support the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia, 85% also believe that terminally ill patients should have the option of choosing when they die.
The Australia Institute’s Executive Director Dr Richard Denniss said the findings show that the Australian public is way ahead of Australian Parliaments when it comes to respecting the wishes of people suffering at the end of their life.
"Conservative politicians are usually quick to argue that Governments shouldn’t control our lives but unfortunately many of those same politicians are more than happy to control our deaths,” Dr Denniss said.
Of those respondents who supported the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia, 77% believe that those with severe dementia who had previously signed an Advanced Care Directive expressing their desire to end their life should have their wishes respected.
Some 7% expressed their opposition to this question, while 16% said they were ‘not sure’.
The Forum, called "A rights of the terminally ill Bill for NSW” was hosted by The Australian Greens and the Dying with Dignity organisation.