The decision by Commercials Advice (CAD) to ban Exit International’s pro-euthanasia television commercial has been strongly criticised by Neil Francis, President and CEO of Dying With Dignity Victoria, speaking on behalf of all state and territory dying with dignity and voluntary euthanasia societies .*
“Do we believe in free speech in this country?,” said Mr Francis. “Banning this commercial stifles a debate we need to have and in no way reflects community attitudes … 85% of Australians are in favour of the terminally ill having the right to choose an assisted death.”
Mr Francis believes that his members and most Australians hold the view that the banned commercial should be judged on its merits.“There’s not a controversial syllable in the commercial – what are our regulators so afraid of?”
There is great momentum behind the voluntary euthanasia movement at present. Changes to the law allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted-dying in accordance to patients’ wishes are currently before parliament or on legislative agendas in West Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. A recent effort by Victorian Green MP Colleen Hartland to review laws surrounding end-of-life care was recently defeated, but plans are already being drawn up for reform after Victoria’s November 27th election.
The World Federation of Right to Die Societies will hold its international congress in Melbourne October 6 to 10.
“Our political parties are decades behind public opinion – when will Australians have the same rights as Americans, Belgians, the Dutch, the Swiss and millions more to choose how they die if they are terminally ill? After all – a dignified death is really your last right.”
The Exit International commercial can be viewed at: http://www.exitinternational.net/
*Groups represented by Mr Francis’ views today include: Dying With Dignity Victoria, Dying With Dignity NSW, Dying With Dignity Queensland, Dying With Dignity Tasmania, South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, West Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, Northern Territory Voluntary Euthanasia Society.