Bishop slams Democrat MP over suicide speech

Melbourne Bishop Christopher Prowse has described a parliamentary speech by South Australian Democrat Sandra Kanck outlining suicide methods as "bizarre and irresponsible".

The Herald-Sun reports that Ms Kanck, who recently said ecstasy was not a dangerous drug, detailed suicide methods in a speech to the South Australian Parliament in a bid to circumvent federal laws.

According to the ABC, the speech, lasting about half-an-hour, mentioned equipment, substances and services available for voluntary euthanasia.

The speech under parliamentary privilege avoids the operation of the Commonwealth Suicide Material Related Offences Act which makes it illegal to distribute information about suicide by electronic means and sets a maximum penalty of $110,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organisations.

Ms Kanck said the Federal laws undermined the rights to free speech and to die with dignity.

"The effect of this odious legislation will be to force desperate people to commit suicide by the most appalling of means."

However, Bishop Christopher Prowse said Ms Kanck's speech was "a bizarre and irresponsible initiative".

"It would give encouragement to people who are already very fragile to look at options which aren't options at all.

"They are only despairing cries for help."

Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal said the speech was an abuse of parliamentary privilege.

Ms Kanck denies that she is encouraging people to commit suicide.

"People looking for simple ways to end their lives by accessing this speech are not going to find them," she said.

The Hansard recording of Ms Kanck's speech is to be published on the South Australian Parliament's website.

Game of political suicide (Herald-Sun, 31/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sandra Kanck (South Australian Democrats)
Sandra Kanck (Wikipedia)

Kanck denies euthanasia speech promotes suicide (ABC 31/8/06)
Keep quiet on suicide methods, Gago begs Kanck (Adelaide Advertiser 31/8/06)

31 Aug 2006