Senate Narrowly Defeats National Suicide Bill

The Australian Senate, in a 36-34 vote, defeated a bill that would have made voluntary euthanasia legal across Australia. The bill, introduced by Liberal Democratic Party Sen. David Leyonhjelm, was unable to pass after two senators initially in favor of the measure voted against it.

The bill would have overturned a federal law that prohibits the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory from passing legislation on euthanasia. The territories have been banned from legalizing voluntary euthanasia since 1997, when the Federal Parliament passed the Andrews Bill.

“I cannot in good conscience offer my support to this bill which will provide the territories the ability to legislate in the area of voluntary euthanasia, certainly without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place,” said National Party Sen. Steve Martin, one of the two senators who changed his vote.