Life Office hails ban on suicide messaging

Sydney's archdiocesan Life Office has welcomed Federal legislation that came into force last week which make illegal the communication about suicide by email, phone or fax.

The Catholic Weekly reports that the day that the Suicide Material Offences Bill 2005 came into effect - 6 January - euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke announced he would move the operations of his organisation, EXIT International, from Australia to New Zealand.

The new law prevents individuals and organisations from transmitting any information by phone, internet or fax that directly or indirectly incites suicide or provides instructions in relation to committing the act of suicide.

Individuals in breach of the law face a fine of more than $100,000 and organisations up to $500,000.

"Human life is not a commodity to be disposed of via the internet, phone or fax," says the Life Office's executive officer, Dr Brigid Vout.

"Disseminating information about how to perform assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia via the media sends the message that life is 'cheap' and that under certain conditions and circumstances, some people are 'better off dead'.

"This message is false and dangerous. It erodes respect for human life and places other vulnerable people at risk."

Suicide message 'fale, dangerous' (Catholic Weekly 15/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Life Office
Exit International | Exit in Exile

Bishop-elect Fisher to debate Australia's 'Dr Death' (CathNews 8/8/03)

Death's Cocktail (The Bulletin 11/2/05)
Barnaby rejoices (Herald-Sun 7/1/06)

13 Jan 2006