Qld Government advised to legalise euthanasia
THE Palaszczuk Government has been told to legislate voluntary assisted dying laws for terminally ill adults in Queensland.
A Parliamentary committee tasked with considering end-of-life issues has tabled its report today, making the historic recommendation to the state's MPS.
"This report is historic. No Bill for voluntary assisted dying has ever been introduced in the Queensland Parliament nor has any parliamentary committee inquired into its desirability," committee chair Aaron Harper wrote in his forward.
"Our parliament can now consider and debate whether to legislate for a voluntary assisted dying scheme in Queensland based upon the recommendations in this report.
"I would like to state upfront that this report reflects the views of the majority of Queenslanders who came before us, made thousands of submissions and often at times brought committee members to tears, reflecting the deeply personal, tragic stories of seeing loved ones suffer at end of life.
"We also heard divergent views from those who oppose voluntary assisted dying, and their reasons have been reflected in this report.
"We respect their views and thank them for sharing their concerns.
"However, the majority of the committee voted to recommend a legislative scheme for voluntary assisted dying in Queensland."
Mr Harper said the committee had been told that every four days in Queensland a person suffering a terminal illness suicides.
"This must stop," he wrote.
"In my view, suicide should never be the only option for Queenslanders suffering at end of life."
The committee was provided with a draft sample bill that would introduce a voluntary assisted dying scheme in Queensland drawn up by two experts on the subject and that has been recommended as a basis for new laws.
Other recommendations include that eligibility would only be for Australian citizens or permanent residents of Queensland, and that only people with decision-making capacity be included, although people should not be excluded simply because they have a mental health issue.
It recommends further research into improving end-of-life options for people without that capacity by examining how their wishes were expressed in Advance Health Directives.
Two independent medical practitioners would assess any person wanting to access the scheme, and rigorous systems would be in place to govern the prescription, dispensing and disposal of voluntary assisted dying medications, with thorough documentation and reporting requirements and protections from liability for doctor and patient participants.
Medication would be able to be administered by the patient or doctor, with the doctor to make that decision.
It's recommended that people seeking access to the scheme should not have to undertake counselling first and that patients should not void their life insurance, funeral or health insurance if they choose to die.
A review board should provide oversight of the scheme, mirroring Victoria's scheme, and the scheme should be reviewed every three years.
Originally published as Qld Government advised to legalise euthanasia