Euthanasia protections for doctors considered

SOUTH Australian GPs who agree to administer drugs to end a patient’s life could soon have a legal defence to the charges of murder, manslaughter or assisting suicide.

Labor backbencher Stephanie Key introduced new legislation to the South Australian Parliament last Thursday that would amend the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, but said the changes would not amount to the decriminalisation of euthanasia.

“What it is saying is that in certain circumstances, if someone is at the end of the road and the palliative care measures have not effectively reduced the person’s suffering to an acceptable level, then the doctor can accede to [the patient’s] requests,” she said.

Exit International director Dr Philip Nitschke said his organisation was examining ways to run euthanasia advice clinics in South Australia and in Tasmania, where Premier Lara Giddings has signalled her support for the issue and is working on a private member