80% of seniors want "return to legalised assisted dying"


25103 Sue Shearer OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Nearly 80% would “welcome a return to legalised assisted dying, with 10% not in support,” says Council of the Ageing CEO Sue Shearer (pictured) after a recent Territory survey of 900 people with an average age of 56.
She says euthanasia legislation was briefly in place in the NT in the late 1990s under Chief Minister Marshall Perron but that was overruled by Canberra in a push by Liberal politician Kevin Andrews.
Ms Shearer says the survey makes it clear that a new initiative should be started in the NT, “so we have a choice”.
A lower cost of living, more housing for seniors close to where they have lived their lives in the NT, more affordable housing for independent living and adequate and reasonably priced services “to allow me to stay in my home as I age” are also uppermost in the minds of senior Territorians, she says.
“Nearly 60% felt that the cost of living is increasing at a rate that is leaving them behind,” says Ms Shearer.
“The NT Seniors Recognition Scheme should be fair and equally available to all, and not related to economic circumstances.
“What a lovely Christmas present it would be indeed, if the NT Government ended this inequality and helped seniors keep up with the cost of living.
“The consideration of a debit card would enable more consumer choice for seniors too, enabling them to choose from a greater variety of selected vendors for the Seniors Recognition Scheme payment of $500.”
Ms Shearer says 82% of seniors feel very safe or relatively safe in their communities, and that nearly 70% of them expect to be living in the Territory in the next five years.
“To ensure seniors stay we need adequate accommodation choice,” and that includes retirement villages and nursing homes.
“We have the highest growth in the numbers of our population aged over 65 [of] any other state or territory. We need to start seriously planning now.”


  1. I don’t know why the Government is all caught up about someone’s sex on their birth certificate when there are more important (by the numbers) things. Anyone who has had to watch a loved one pass in extreme pain would know the obvious choice here.
    Why is it when a minority want something they get it, when a majority want something, well that needs to be discussed for a long time.

  2. Ms Shearer “80%” of older Territorians would “welcome assisted suicide?”. Four out of five Senior Territorians? Is there a list of their names I wonder.
    I bet the magnificent older Alician ladies and blokes who have been at the forefront of palliative care in the Red Centre for many years would not be on that list.
    Perhaps if Dr Richard Lim is still with us he should be interviewed and asked that question

  3. John Bell: What relevance is the opinion of the palliative care workers (or anybody for that matter)? Not disputing their great work in difficult situations, but their input on another person’s life, liberties and freedom to chose when to go should be no one’s but that person seeking euthanasia.
    Of course complexities around mental and physical faculties to make such decision need to be regulated carefully.
    Its ironic that the NT Government changed the law in 2017 to make it easier to have an abortion. Abortions are available up until 23 weeks.
    With modern medicine, premature babies have now survived from as early as 21 weeks and five days.
    On what ethical grounds, can a survivable child be euthanized without any input into his/her own future, yet an adult is unable to chose to terminate his/her own life? What a contradiction!
    On the one hand, Left leaning politicians argue for the rights of the mother (supported by feminism and “progressives”) to terminate the life of another and on the Right leaning side of government, politicians argue the sanctity of life (supported by Christian values) and suggest an adult cannot terminate their own life?
    If you value freedom and liberty in one’s own life, then the choice to cease one’s own life must be equally defended.

  4. @InterestedDarwinObserver. I reapect your view. However, I believe your view on assisted suicide is a “glass half empty” view of pessimism on the human condition.
    All I can say to you is this. I have visited palliative care centres and have spoken to dedicated staff and patients of all ages.
    I can say from my own experience that the joy of life is vibrant there.
    Such a positive caring atmosphere it rubs off on everyone. It is a “glass half full” view that encapsulates the essence of the human spirit.
    It rubs off on auffering people and gives them strength to continue against all the odds. You should try a visit sometime, mate.
    The Alice has fantastic palliative care givers.

  5. John Bell seems obsessed with part of Ms Shearer’s letter. She wrote of a survey result on how seniors feel, not just about dying.
    Perhaps he should widen his view?
    Palliative care, wonderful but who really wants to be in such a condition that they need this care?
    I DON’T, I’d rather exit while I was still physically and mentally capable of deciding.
    It is my body, my life and only I should decide anything for me.
    Absolutely seniors would welcome the option of assisted dying. Not all want to use it but they do want the choice.


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