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Northern Territory Euthanasia Collection - Media Release by Neil Bell, 26 May 1995

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Collection number 14-024
Collection title Northern Territory Euthanasia Collection - Media Release by Neil Bell, 26 May 1995
Date range (approx.) 26 May 1995
Shelf meters (approx.) 0.001
Scope and contents Press release by Neil Bell titled 'Euthanasia Fight Continues' 
Record Type In the news
Physical description Photocopy
Language English
Language code eng
Collection created by Neil Bell
Biographical history The Northern Territory was the first jurisdiction in the world to explicitly legalise euthanasia. The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) entered into law on 1 July 1996. The following year the Commonwealth Parliament intervened to overturn the Act. Section 50A was added to the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 to prohibit the Northern Territory from making laws in respect of euthanasia. The Rights of the Terminally Act was in force for 9 months, during which time four people died by medically assisted suicide through its provisions.

Provenance The NT Euthanasia Collection contains donations from a number of contributors. This item was donated by Mr Neil Bell, who asked that the following statement be included with his material: "I have no regrets about opposing euthanasia when I was asked by the journalists what I thought of it. I came to that conclusion because of the “slippery slope” argument: that a right to die can too easily become a duty to die by the expectants putting pressure on the terminally ill i.e. those who will inherit asking the elderly to shuffle off this mortal coil so they can get their hands on the inheritance. What I do have regrets about is that I was forced into the front line by the CLP opponents of euthanasia who were caught in the bind between their opposition to voluntary active euthanasia and their loyalty to Marshall Perron who saved their seats in 1990 and 1993 by a well-targetted campaign of dummy questions by phone to electors in key northern suburbs seats, saying a vote for the ALP was a vote for Aboriginal land rights. (For details of this campaign, see my paper Race and Electoral Strategy in the Northern Territory With the benefit of hind sight, I perhaps should have boycotted the vote on euthanasia and focussed on the main game by reminding the electorate of the reason for this indulgence of Marshall Perron’s divisive strategies."
Subjects Euthanasia
Euthanasia Laws Bill 1996 (Cth)
Medical Ethics
Medically Assisted Suicide
Palliative Care
Right to Die
Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT)
Terminal Care
Names (person) Neil Bell
Places Northern Territory
Box list available? n/a
Item list available? n/a
Conditions governing access Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers are advised that this item may contain images or names of people who have since passed away
Related material Please see folder list for the NT Euthanasia Collection (link below)
Location Arafura Research Archive. Please contact the Archivist on (08) 8946 7794 or at for more information
Institution Charles Darwin University, Darwin
Open access Yes
Description for Link Folder list for NT Euthanasia Collection [CDU Arafura Research Archive]

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Created: Mon, 13 Mar 2017, 11:43:53 CST by Mary Paton