19 October 2020

Qld Premier promises assisted dying bill next year

Government Political TheHill

A law allowing terminally ill Queenslanders to voluntarily die will be brought to the floor of state parliament next year if Labor is re-elected on October 31.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk committed on Sunday to introduce voluntary assisted dying legislation in February and give Labor MPs a conscience vote if the party wins a third term.

A year-long government inquiry found support for such a law, and officials have previously told advocates they would bring a law if elected for the next term, but this is the first time Labor has declared openly that it will indeed go ahead with legislation.

“We all know what it is like to lose a loved one,” she told a small crowd of union representatives, party faithful and members of her frontbench during her election speech.

“It’s tough, particularly in these times, and I know firsthand.

“I believe more can be done to give greater comfort and dignity for people approaching the end of their lives.”

Ms Palaszczuk, whose own government spent a year gauging public opinion on voluntary assisted dying before sending sample legislation to the Queensland Law Reform Commission for review, acknowledged strong views on the issue.

“It’s one I also have my own personal views on but I believe individuals and families should be empowered to consider all the options available in consultation with their medical professionals,” she added.

“That’s why today I can commit that the government I lead will introduce legislation in February next year to provide for the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying.”

The Liberal National Party is formally against it, but party leader Deb Frecklington has committed to allowing MPs a conscience vote.

A survey of 597 state election candidates across Queensland’s 93 seats by a coalition of advocacy groups found 164 were in support, 37 were uncommitted, another 13 were opposed, and 383 didn’t respond.

But it found candidates across the political spectrum were in favour, including those from the Labor, Greens, Liberal National Party, One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party.

David Muir, chair of the Clem Jones Trust and one of Queensland’s most prominent advocates for voluntary assisted dying, told TMR the premier’s commitment had reassured terminally ill patients wanting a way out.

“My sense of it is that they just feel relieved there is a concrete promise on the political agenda to get this done,” he said.

“I think there’s an overwhelming sense of relief, and it’s hard not to be a bit emotional about this when people are suffering with a terminal illness.”

Seven terminally ill Queenslanders take their own lives each month in horrific and lonely circumstances out of fearing of intolerable suffering, said Dr Sid Finnigan, state convenor of Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice.

“It underlines the need for urgent legislative action, so as few Queenslanders as possible continue to suffer,” Dr Finnigan said.

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russell wiseman
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russell wiseman
3 months 4 days ago

this topic should be above politics.
disgusting that Qld premier sniffs an advantage over lnp caution and pushes to make a cheap election stunt.
desperate and clueless. no budget, no plan and no idea ! – just cheap gutter politics.
our patients deserve far better than either side are offering.

Dr John Hayes
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Dr John Hayes
3 months 4 days ago
2017 PCOC Annual Report : “ The evidence shows Palliative Care is highly effective” , with the number dying in pain only 2%. This is why the Palliative Medicine Specialists and Geriatricians oppose Euthanasia . “With Palliative Care, Pain Control is not a problem and is rarely a reason for Euthanasia “ declared Palliative Medicine Leader, Prof Doug Bridge. Why don’t the Politicians listen to the experts in the field , the Palliative Medicine Specialists ? In WA, the West Australian newspaper refused to publish their opinion piece when the Bill was before the Lower House. Such was the extreme… Read more »
Peter Bradley
Member
Peter Bradley
3 months 4 days ago
John, you’re a bit like a cracked record on this issue. However, you are mistaken regarding several facts surrounding the whole subject. Do you have an open enough mind to actually listen to alternative views or not, is the question..? For example, you are wrong in the general claim that palliative care specialists oppose VAD. Many don’t. Many come out and say it – some I suspect remain quiet on it. But each and every one of them knows full well that it is not just to end pointless suffering this VAD is desired by about 80% of the population.… Read more »
Peter Bradley
Member
Peter Bradley
3 months 5 days ago
Such a pity this have been made an election thing. It now makes those strongly in favour of the legislation almost bound to vote Labor because the LNP seem unable to take the pulse on it of society, and have the courage to come out and just say, “yes, we will also put the legislation if elected. After all, the legislation proposed has already been worked out and put forward by the Govt backed commission of enquiry, and merely needs to be passed in Parliament, but not much help to the LNP in their chances to win, if they will… Read more »
Dr John Hayes
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Dr John Hayes
3 months 4 days ago

In WA, the McGowan Govt appointed the End-of-Life Choices Select Committee, where seven of the eight members supported Euthanasia from the outset. The outcome was pre-determined.
The Govt-backed commission of Enquiry in Qld was likewise “stacked” with pro-Euthanasia members . What a farce ! “Yes Minister’s “ Sir Humphrey had a golden rule of Govt : “Only appoint a Select Committee when you know beforehand what the outcome will be “

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