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Seven in 10 support voluntary euthanasia

NEW research shows seven in 10 Australians support voluntary euthanasia.

The results of the national survey were released at the Dying with Dignity NSW 2012 Parliamentary Forum in Sydney on Monday.

Of the 1422 people who took part in the survey, 71% were in favour of making it legal for people experiencing unrelievable and incurable physical and/or mental suffering to end their life.

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 believed terminally ill patients should have the option of choosing when they die.

The Australia Institute's executive director Dr Richard Denniss said the findings showed the public was way ahead of state and federal parliaments on this issue.

"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% believed those with severe dementia who had previously signed an Advanced Care Directive expressing their desire to end their life should have their wishes respected; 7% were opposed and 16% were "not sure".

It comes as Greens Senator Richard Di Natale signalled his intention introduced a bill over the next fortnight to give territories the right to introduce their own euthanasia laws.

He said there was significant public support to change the laws around "dying with dignity".

"I think the issue of euthanasia in this country has moved on from where it was 15 years ago," Senator Di Natale said.

Senator Di Natale said his opinion about euthanasia had been shaped by his time and experience working as a public health specialist.

"It's a decision that is usually welcomed by families and most people want to have the option to be able to end their suffering earlier than we can legally as medical professionals," he said.

He called on Labor and the Coalition to allow a conscience vote on the issue.

Topics:  euthanasia




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