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EXPLAINER: Queensland's Assisted Dying Laws
Opinion|May 20, 2021

EXPLAINER: Queensland's Assisted Dying Laws

The Queensland Government Are Introducing Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation Into Parliament.
Penthouse Staff

Next week, the Queensland government will introduce voluntary assisted dying legislation into parliament.

The Queensland Reform Commission (QLRC) handed its report to the government, noting this is an “additional end of life choice” and “not a way to end life for those who are not dying”.

The report has now been made public. Under the proposed laws, an eligible person must:

  • Have an eligible condition that it advanced and expected to cause death within 12 months
  • Be capable of making decisions and must be acting voluntarily
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and have been a resident of Queensland for at least one year

 

What you need to know:

  • The legislation will be introduced to parliament next week.
  • It will then go to a health committee for a consultation period for 12 weeks.
  • The bill will then be debated an voted on in September.
  • If passed it will be introduced in January 2023.
  • A number of safeguards and processes have been suggested to ensure the scheme is “truly voluntary” and “without coercion”.
  • A person must be assessed by two doctors who meet the law’s qualification and training rules.
  • There must be three separate requests that are “clear and documented”.
  • There would be a waiting period of at least nine days between the first and final request.
  • Doctors, nurses and other health practitioners would have a conscientious objection and have the right to choose not to partake.
  • Medical professionals will not be allowed to proactively suggest euthanasia as an option to patients.
  • The laws would bring Queensland into line with Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “During the October election, I made a commitment to Queensland that a re-elected Palaszczuk government would introduce laws to give people that choice and we will do that. I have also made it abundantly clear that government MPs will have a conscience vote. That is the right thing to do. I also want the public to have a respectful debate, there are going to be opposing views, I understand this, but I also understand these are deeply personal issues. Having seen firsthand the suffering of both my grandmother and uncle it is heartbreaking and nobody wants to see it. This bill will give people the choice to end their life with dignity.”

Teeshan Johnson, executive director of pro-life group Cherish Life Queensland said, “There is a lot of opposition to the legislation of assisted suicide in Queensland, and our small army of supporters will do our best to protect life at the end of life and push for an increase to palliative care funding in line with Palliative Care Queensland’s recommendation of an extra $275 million per year.”

Penthouse says: Throwing money at palliative care is not the answer. Giving individuals the personal freedom, liberty and autonomy to make their own decisions is the answer to this issue. Everyone has the right to die with dignity.