A voluntary assisted dying bill will be introduced in Queensland Parliament next week, with the Queensland Premier declaring the “time is right”.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed the bill will be put to a vote in September, and if passed, will be in place by January 2023.
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Ms Palaszczuk said she believes this will be the “most important work this parliament will do”.
After being introduced to parliament, the bill will also be referred to the Health and Environment Committee for further public consultation.
“I thank the QLRC and their support team for their diligent work and wide-ranging consultation,” the Premier said.
“They worked hard to have the draft bill ready by the May 10 deadline.
“The commission listened to a range of health practitioners, organisations that support or oppose voluntary assisted dying, religious bodies, unions, legal bodies, members of the public and many more.
“The result is proposed legislation that QLRC has intended to be compassionate, safe and practical”.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said previous work of parliamentary committees had found health practitioners are “generally supportive” of voluntary assisted dying and support it being legalised in Queensland.
“It’s important there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect both those who seek to use voluntary assisted dying as an end-of-life option and medical practitioners and entities asked to participate in the process,” the Minister said.
“Under the draft laws, more than one medical opinion is needed and there are requirements around eligibility and decision-making capability as well as provisions for medical practitioners to conscientiously object.
“These laws are also 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.”
According to the QLRC, there are a number of requirements that will need to be met to access voluntary assisted dying, including:
- Have an eligible condition that is advanced and progressive and expected to cause death within 12 months;
- Have a capacity to make a decision around end-of-life choices;
- Be acting voluntarily and without coercion;
- Be at least 18 years of age; and
- Satisfy residency requirements including being an Australian citizen or permanent resident and have been a resident of Queensland for at least a year
The State Government is urging Queenslanders to “follow the debate” and participate in it with the “utmost respect for other people and other points of view.”