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‘Surprise’ over SAPOL view


Apostolic Administrator Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ has expressed “great surprise” over statements reported to have been made on behalf of SA Police in a submission to a Parliamentary inquiry into end of life choices.

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Last month the Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval was quoted in The Advertiser as saying SA police supported law changes that would allow euthanasia under certain prescribed conditions.

Mr Duval reportedly said it was “not uncommon for people to commit suicide as a consequence of loneliness and old age”.

“If the media reports are correct it is a surprising statement on several levels,” said Bishop O’Kelly.

“Firstly, it seems to suggest that if elderly and lonely people are committing suicide then we should endorse such a practice.

“The statistics from Victoria indicate that for a high proportion of those who have died since the VAD legislation came into effect, they have done so through self-administered drugs, in other words, self-suicide.

“In the face of a high proportion of lonely and elderly in the South Australian community who suicide, the response of our society should be to look at how it can alleviate loneliness and isolation among the frail elderly.

“Our response should be to help them, not remove them.

“Mr Duval’s statement projects a totally foreign image of our police and their attitudes.

“The second surprising aspect is the inference that this is the attitude of all our police. I know euthanasia is abhorrent to many police men and women, but the Assistant Commissioner’s statement infers a general attitude held by all the police.

“It seems it may be the opinion of some of the police on a certain committee.”

The Southern Cross sought a copy of the submission from SAPOL but a spokesperson said as the matter was before Parliament and SAPOL had not made the submission public, it would not be providing a copy.

The End of Life Choices joint committee was set up last April to investigate how end of life is currently managed for the chronically and terminally ill across the State and to consider the appropriateness of the Parliament of SA enacting a Bill similar to Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act (2017).


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