The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has labelled the consultation process to introduce euthanasia in the Northern Territory (NT) as “a farce and a sham.” An expert advisory panel recently revealed that the terms of reference do not allow opposition to assisted suicide to be considered.
ACL director for the NT Christopher Brohier explained: “On 16 November 2023, as part of the consultation process, the panel held a public community meeting in Alice Springs. Out of the approximate 40 attendees, at least 20 peacefully opposed the introduction of assisted suicide and attempted to Have Their Say as had been invited. Incredibly, despite the panel sympathetically acknowledging their views, they were told that the terms of reference did not allow opposition to assisted suicide to be considered.”
Mr. Brohier quoted panel co-chair, Duncan McConnel, as explaining: “The terms of reference for this panel were set by the Government. If you look at the terms of reference, they do not call upon this panel explicitly to consider the threshold question of whether or not the Northern Territory Government should introduce legislation of this kind.”
The ACL director added that a “poorly worded” online survey also assumed everyone in the Top End supported euthanasia. He accused the territory’s Labor government of not being interested in consulting with the public.
Mr. Brohier concluded: “The community consultation is a farce. It has been set up to implement assisted suicide regardless of what NT people think and despite concerns raised. The NT Government is not interested in the discussion about whether or not to legislate assisted suicide, therefore they are not actually interested in consulting with the public. This sham of a consultation is merely to give the appearance of listening.”
A statement from the ACL said: “The Australian Christian Lobby calls upon the NT Government to properly consult the NT public and actively seek feedback on the question Should we legislate assisted suicide? It would seem they are aware that the answer is likely to be No.”