South Australia’s Attorney General is urging to move forward state euthanasia legislation following an alleged murder suicide at a Glynde retirement home.
Kyam Maher told ABC Radio Adelaide he is working with Health Secretary Chris Picton to bring the legislation “as soon as possible”.
The laws were passed in June last year and are currently scheduled to come into force by the end of January next year.
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Dennis and Barbara Willshire were found dead in their unit by a staff member during a routine check on Wednesday morning.
Police say Dennis may have first killed his wife and then taken his own life.
Maher said SA’s euthanasia laws will follow those in Victoria, where a person must be considered ailing and terminally ill to be eligible for the program.
“The laws that come into force in South Australia require a person to be diagnosed by two different doctors, one of whom is a specialist in the area the person is suffering from,” he said.
“[The person]is expected to die within six months, and that person must … suffer in a way that the person finds unbearable.”
Though he admitted those rules were somewhat restrictive, Maher said they “reflect the values of our community.”
When asked if a person with dementia could use the laws on dying, Maher said a crucial element is that the person must be in their right mind throughout the process.
“For neurodegenerative diseases, (the timeline) is extended to the last 12 months,” he said.
“The other factor is that at every stage of the journey, from the final request to the administration of the substance, you need to have the mental capacity to understand the nature of what you’re doing.
“Anything a person suffers from that deprives them of their mental capacity…would disqualify someone from participating in voluntary euthanasia.”
The Attorney General declined to comment on the Glynde murder-suicide case.
Elderly couple remembered as valued members of the community
Dennis and Barbara Willshire, both 92, are fondly remembered by neighbors and friends.
“(They were) very nice people, very dedicated to themselves and the community, and did a lot for the community,” a friend told 7NEWS.
“It’s a big shock to us… it’s hard to believe they’ve gone.”
It is understood that the couple moved to the independently living retirement village about seven years ago.
A neighbor told 7NEWS that Barbara was not well and Dennis was “very distressed about the whole situation.”
“She had been unwell for about three months,” they said.
Police could not confirm when the couple died or if guns were involved, but the family has been notified.
“As you can imagine, this is very tragic for a family,” Superintendent Matt Nairn said.
https://7news.com.au/news/sa/sa-attorney-general-moves-to-bring-forward-assisted-dying-laws-after-elderly-couples-suspected-murder-suicide–c-8002336 South Africa’s Attorney General is trying to introduce euthanasia legislation after an elderly couple suspected a murder-suicide