Acting on instruction from the Australian Federal Police, Queensland police initiated a series of night-time raids on retirement villages, cracking down on the importation of euthanasia drugs, according to reports fom Exit International.
Under the guise of carrying out ‘wellness checks’, police arrived stating that they believed residents had imported euthanasia drugs and sought access to properties to carry out a search, the leading euthanasia organisation said.
In one case, an elderly resident in a Tweed Heads retirement village was allegedly visited by police at midnight.
According to news reports, police demanded that he hand over euthanasia drugs they believed he had imported.
Exit International, founded by Dr Phillip Nitschke, raised concerns about the raids and advised any members who find themselves a victim of a raid not to answer any questions put to them by police, other than providing their names and addresses.
Exit International also advised its members to refuse police entry to the property unless they were able to produce a search warrant.
Dr Nitschke said that the decision by the Australian Federal Police to target elderly Australians who were desperate to control the end of their life, was an example of an abuse of power.
“To use federal law enforcement to bully the elderly and to try to control a growing social phenomena where elderly people are demanding control over the manner and timing of their death is doomed to fail,” Dr Nitschke said.
“As populations age, the elderly increasingly demand this control, whether by travelling to an enlightened legislative environment, like Professor Goodall did when he travelled to Switzerland to die, or by using the internet to import the best end-of-life drugs, and this trend will continue regardless of the actions of the AFP.
“Attempting to criminalise elderly Australians who have lived their lives as law-abiding citizens is policy flawed and misdirected.”
Dr Nitschke said he had been contacting federal politicians to ask questions about who was responsible for instigating the raids.
Elderly people who are in extreme pain or suffering and who may be contemplating ending their lives, are among the most vulnerable in our community.
The idea of adding further stress to an already disturbing situation through night-time raids on retirement villages is utterly reprehensible.
Most Australians support euthanasia and the fact that it remains banned across most of the country makes it a bad law, unrepresentative of the people.
Some polls suggest that up to 80 per cent of Australians support voluntary euthanasia.
The Victorian Parliament had the good sense and courage to enact assisted dying legislation late last year, with the new rules set to take effect from June next year.
While the laws in the rest of the country continue to lag behind community opinion on this issue, police do have a choice when it comes to administering bad laws.
Raiding retirement villages at midnight is not the way to go, nor is harassing Australians who simply want to exercise their human right to die with dignity.
These offences should be a low priority for the police, and these raids represent a massive waste of scarce police resources.
NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge has called on the state’s Police Commissioner to urgently review any NSW Police involvement in the events, as it involved a retirement village on the border with Queensland.
There should also be a full investigation into who authorised the raids, and why they were conducted to cause maximum disruption.