X-Message-Number: 6398
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 07:56:36 -0700
From: David Brandt-Erichsen <>
Subject: Things get murkier in Australia

Lynda Cracknell reports the following from Darwin, Australia:

The Chief Medical Officer of the Northern Territory, who can issue
guidelines under the Medical Act which registered doctors must follow, sent
out a letter June 27 to all doctors in the Territory advising against anyone
assisting patients to die under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act when it
takes effect Monday July 1, on the basis that the legislation might later be
found to be invalid.

The Chief Minister was later reported as saying the letter should not have
been sent out, and said something like "doctor's may decide to accept the
small risk and proceed anyway, on the probability that no action would be
taken against them subsequently if the Act is overturned or found to be

Later again a radio report said that the Administrator (similar to Governor)
who must approve the regulations (subordinate legislation) had a dilemma
because he had received advice from the Northern Territory Government to
approve the regulations, but had received contrary advice from the Federal
Government (who appoints the Administrator).  

Northern Territory doctors are thoroughly confused by all this, and there
could be a real constitutional crisis looming.

 <David Brandt-Erichsen>

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=6398