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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3668..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

amendment seeks to insert a new clause stating that the act does not authorise euthanasia or anything to do with it, stating:

To remove any doubt, this Act does not:

(a) authorise, justify or excuse the killing of a person; or

(b) affect in any way a prosecution for an offence against a provision of the Crimes Act 1900, part 2 (Offences against the person).

The note there is a reference to section 23 (1A) of the ACT self-government act 1988. I also put on the record my appreciation and thanks to the parliamentary counsel who provided this amendment for me at very short notice. I thank them for that and also the amendment to the Medical Treatment (Health Directions) Bill, which we are yet to debate.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (11.20): The government will not be supporting Mr Stefaniak's amendment. The reason for that is that this amendment is, essentially, unnecessary. An enduring power of attorney or a power of attorney cannot authorise an illegal act. That is the bottom line. So an enduring power of attorney cannot authorise someone to do something which is illegal.

As we are well aware, euthanasia is prohibited in the ACT by virtue of an act of the commonwealth parliament. In addition, the circumstances in which treatment is withdrawn are spelt out in the Medical Treatment Act. Further, the issues around prosecutions against medical or other health professionals are also clarified in relation to directions given to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the Attorney-General.

So there is a clear framework for managing these matters and the most important principle that members need to appreciate is that in a power of attorney you cannot authorise the doing of a thing which is contrary to law. For those reasons, Mr Speaker, this amendment is unnecessary and it is the government's view that the existing provisions and the existing legislative framework are sufficient to guard against the concern which Mr Stefaniak has raised and which has prompted his amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Medical Treatment (Health Directions) Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 21 September 2006, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (11.23): This bill is a consequential amendment to the Medical Treatment Act 1994 and it does repeal the act.


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