QLD Parliament to Debate Euthanasia Laws


The Queensland parliament will vote on legalizing euthanasia for terminally ill patients in September.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday introduced a bill allowing certain patients to choose voluntary assistance in dying.

She says the loss of two close relatives last year influenced her decision to push for a conscience vote on euthanasia, which was also a campaign pledge.

“I had the very personal experience of losing my grandmother and my uncle,” Palaszczuk told parliament on Tuesday.

“It got me to think long and hard about a lot of things, and I honestly think the time is right for this bill.”

Under the bill, patients must have an illness, disease or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and will result in death.

Their condition is to be expected to cause their death within 12 months and to cause “intolerable” suffering.

Ms Palaszczuk said a parliamentary committee would take submissions on the bill within the next 12 weeks.

There will be a parliamentary debate and a vote on the laws in September.

If passed, a euthanasia program could operate in Queensland from January 2023.

The Prime Minister has written to the Prime Minister to request that federal laws be amended so that the program is fully available to residents of regional and remote areas.

She said it is currently a federal offense to use a transportation service such as phone, video conference or email to post or distribute material that advises or incites suicide or attempted suicide.

The 52 Labor MPs from the 93 seats in parliament will be entitled to a vote of conscience on the proposed laws.

Cherish Life Queensland executive director Teeshan Johnson said the bill would not pass if MPs were allowed to vote truly freely.

Ms Johnson claimed that while publicly allowing MPs to vote conscientiously on an abortion bill in 2018, Labor privately intimidated MP Jo-Ann Miller after she voted against the laws.

“If Labor does not vote on conscience, they have the numbers to get this across,” Ms Johnson told AAP.

“But if it’s a real vote of conscience, it won’t pass, that’s really what it comes down to.”

Opposition members of the National Liberal Party will also be entitled to a conscience vote on the bill.

The Greens and independent MP Sandy Bolton are backing it, while One Nation MP Stephen Andrew has yet to make a decision.

The Queensland Australian Medical Association and Palliative Care Queensland opposed the bill and called for a major increase in public funding for end-of-life care.

The state government spends nearly $ 150 million a year on palliative care over four years, but both groups say it is well below the $ 272 million needed each year to provide adequate care.

Three MPs from Katter’s Australian party will also oppose the bill, saying the government should focus on improving people’s lives, not ending them.

“Although I know there is great complexity and great emotion surrounding the issues of life and death, we do not believe that legalizing suicide (even under the strictest conditions) is the answer,” said Party leader Robbie Katter said in a statement.

“The need to better focus and improve the funding of palliative care services for all Queenslanders through a specially designed palliative care system has been overlooked in the end-of-life debate.”

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