‘… the [Queensland] government announced it would not put draft legislation before the Parliament before the election scheduled for 31 October 2020. On 21 May 2020, it referred the matter of reviewing legislative options to the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) with a reporting date of 31 March 2021. Accordingly, this project sought to elaborate the views of a small sample of Queenslanders who had relevant experience and had considered the issues at some depth. A summary of these views and preferences forms the basis of this document and a submission to the QLRC.’
Queensland MPs vote to legalise voluntary assisted dying
Ben Smee reports in The Guardian (16.9.21) on the passing of voluntary assisted dying laws through Queensland’s parliament after three days of emotional debate and a conscience vote to decide the legislation.
‘Queensland has passed laws that will allow voluntary assisted dying for people with a terminal illness, with an overwhelming majority of MPs voting in favour. The state – often perceived as Australia’s most socially conservative – becomes the fifth Australian jurisdiction to allow voluntary euthanasia.
‘The state parliament voted 60 to 29 in favour, despite a fierce campaign by faith-based groups and attempts by opponents to introduce amendments that would have imposed barriers to access the new scheme.
‘Voluntary assisted dying (VAD) will be restricted to people with an advanced and progressive condition that causes intolerable suffering and was expected to cause death within a year.
‘The person must have decision-making capacity and will have to be separately and independently assessed by two doctors. They will then be required to make three separate requests over at least nine days.
‘The laws also allow doctors and healthcare providers to conscientiously object. Faith-based organisations that run hospitals and aged care homes had argued for stronger rights to object, which would have acted to prevent some residents from accessing VAD.
‘In the end – after 55 separate amendments were debated and rejected – the laws passed as drafted by the state’s independent law reform commission.’