Another of Mr Janetzki’s amendments would open up the scheme to people who are likely to die from a neurodegenerative disease, illness or medical problem within 12 months.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said she supported ‘intention’ but there would be problems assessing a patient’s decision-making abilities while being treated for the disease Alzheimer’s disease, and there was a risk that the patients would be coerced.
“I understand this disease – I understand because my mother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease,” she said, holding back tears, before stopping to take a sip of water. “And 15 years later, that does not facilitate the discussions.
“I know what she would choose – she would choose VAD. I know we had a lot of conversations about how we wanted to live and die.
“But it’s not as easy as adding a line [to the bill]. “
Under another of Mr Janetzki’s amendments, a physician approving euthanasia should have experience in the disease, illness or medical condition concerned, addressing a concern raised by Catholic Health Australia.
People wishing to access euthanasia should receive counseling on palliative care options, and physicians with a conscientious objection would not be required to refer a person to a practitioner willing to perform euthanasia.
LNP leader David Crisafulli, who did not support the bill, said he had not let the debate become politicized.
While the two main parties allowed a conscience vote on abortion laws in 2018, three members of the LNP – Tim Nicholls, Jann Stuckey and Steven Minnikin – voted against the majority of their party colleagues and supported The law project. This despite an email from a state electoral board threatening to disapprove and comments from then-president Gary Spence, who told members they could put their preselection at risk.
Mr Crisafulli did not refer to the abortion debate – the last time Queensland MPs got a conscience vote – but said there would be a real conscience vote on euthanasia .
“I did not allow this to be politicized in my community, my party hall or at the headquarters of our political movement,” he said.
“This is a real vote of conscience, and you will see it in the individual decisions taken this week among LNP MPs.”
Mr Crisafulli said he believed in an individual’s right to make a decision in their own best interest, free from state influence and obstruction.
But he was concerned about people’s equal access to palliative care.
“While my heart hurts for people facing great pain and terminal illness, I cannot allow them to die because of flawed legislation,” he said.
The debate continues, with MPs due to vote on Thursday evening.
If passed, Queensland would become the fifth state to legalize voluntary euthanasia and enter into force in January 2023.