Under the new Dying Act which came into effect today all forms of dying other than euthanasia are illegal. A spokesperson for the Government said that euthanasia, either self-administered or assisted is now the only way that people can die. She added "All other ways of dying, whether from illness, accident or old age are now illegal. People can choose when they want to die and don't have to if they don't wish to. They can choose their own time and place." Facilities will be provided so that when people choose to die they can do so at a time and place that suits them. These facilities will be available at hospitals or suitably registered clinics. Medication for self-administration will be available free at all chemists. All costs will be covered under Medicare.
The Government spokesperson said "This new law puts Australia in the forefront of world social engineering. We are the first country in the world to outlaw all non-voluntary means of dying." She added that anyone dying by any illegal means, such as accident, illness or old age, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The maximum penalty being life imprisonment.
Some people did protest that the law does not go far enough. The argued that the law should be made retrospective so that people who died by what are now illegal means in the past could take advantage of it. The spokesperson for the Government said that their argument will be considered by Parliament and the law may be amended to make it retrospective because people should not miss the benefits from the law just because they are dead.
Rights to Life organisations welcomed the new law. They said that people should have the right to choose when and how to die and not be bound by inconvenient natural causes or accidents. They will not be protesting against the new law but will encourage all people to take control of their deaths. A spokesperson said that this is the type of law they had been advocating for a long time, "It is good to see it happening at last." he added.
Religious groups declined to comment until they have studied the new law in more detail but said that they would probably oppose it. They suggested that they might offer their followers advice on subverting the law and dying at unpredictable times. One religious leader, who declined to be identified, said that the new law would put them in a difficult position because people would no longer fear dying suddenly and unblessed if they could choose their own time to go. "We will lose a lot of control over our congregations." he added.
No person already dead was available for comment.