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CDU Library

Northern Territory Euthanasia Collection

The Arafura Research Archive holds a unique and significant collection of materials relating to the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) and the Commonwealth Parliament’s overturning of the Act in 1997. Items from the Collection have been digitised and are available for online research.

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Please note that only a small fraction of material is currently available through this site. We will continue to add more content and researchers are urged to contact us to find out more about the collection, or if they’re seeking specific items.


The Northern Territory was the first jurisdiction in the world to explicitly legalise euthanasia. The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) entered into law on 1 July 1996. The following year, the Commonwealth Parliament intervened to overturn the Act. Section 50A was added to the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 to prohibit the Northern Territory from making laws in respect of euthanasia. The Rights of the Terminally Act was in force for 9 months, during which time four people died by medically assisted suicide through its provisions.

The NT Euthanasia Collection began in 1997, when a number of those on both sides of the debate generously agreed to donate their papers to the University. The collection continues to evolve, with new material being added on an ongoing basis. We are extremely grateful to all those who have contributed material to date- Neil Bell, the late Bob Collins, Judy Dent, Marshall Perron and Grant Tambling. If you have relevant material that you would also like to donate, we would be happy to discuss this with you.

For further information please contact the Library or phone 08 8946 7016.