Thursday, June 20, 2024

Assisted dying laws introduced into Parliament

Legislation to allow access to voluntary assisted dying in Queensland has been introduced into Parliament today.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 would now be scrutinised by the Health and Environment Parliamentary Committee, and then go through further public consultation.

“The path to this day has been long and considered, and paved with reverence and respect,” the Premier said.

“Many Queenslanders who have watched a loved one suffer feel passionately that there must be dignified options available to everyone.

“This bill delivers on an important election commitment I made to the people of Queensland.

“It provides a chain of safeguards to ensure only those at the end of life can make these choices, and then only those capable of making that choice for themselves.

“That is why we’re equally committed to delivering an additional $171 million investment in palliative care.

“At its heart this reform is about love and the dignity we all share and owe to each other.

“I urge all Queenslanders to ensure the utmost respect for other people and other points of view.”

“When the time comes, Government MPs will vote according to their conscience.”

Deputy Premier, Steven Miles said the draft bill allowed for Queenslanders nearing the end of their life to have greater choice about how, when and where they die.

“Voluntary assisted dying is not a choice between life and death, it’s a choice for those who are dying and wish to have more control over the time and circumstances of their death,” Mr Miles said.

“The draft legislation recognises that people’s autonomy and dignity should be respected when making end-of-life choices.  

“I encourage all Queenslanders to read the report and engage with the Parliamentary committee process.”

Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath said the draft bill included safeguards to protect both those who seek to use voluntary assisted dying and medical practitioners and entities asked to participate in the process.

“These laws are being developed at the same time as we’re advancing our election commitment to invest $171 million to deliver more palliative care options across Queensland,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Under the draft laws, more than one medical opinion is needed. A person must have an eligible condition and decision-making capability.

“The draft bill also contains provisions for medical practitioners to conscientiously object.”

Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman thanked the Queensland Law Reform Commission for their work on the proposed legislation.

“The Commission has done extensive consultation with health practitioners, organisations, religious bodies, unions, legal bodies and members of the public,” the Attorney-General said.

“It is such an important piece of legislation for so many Queenslanders, it’s important we get it right.”

The Health and Environment Parliamentary Committee will have 12 weeks to undertake scrutiny of the bill and members of the public and stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide submissions.

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