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J Law Med. 2010 Feb;17(4):532-55.

A right to die? Euthanasia and the law in Australia.

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  • 1Australian Institute of Criminology, PO Box 2944, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


This article examines the legal regulation of active voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide in Australia. The Dying with Dignity Bill 2009 (Tas), which was recently defeated by the Tasmanian Parliament, is discussed, as well as other jurisdictions' past and present legislative developments in this context. The recent case law is also considered to ascertain how "mercy killing" or assisted suicide cases are dealt with by the criminal justice system, with particular reference to the case of R v Justins [2008] NSWSC 1194. This is followed by a critical evaluation of the key arguments for and against euthanasia. The article concludes by examining the significance of the Tasmanian Bill and the implications of such legislation.

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