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Push on for 'die with dignity'

Speaker Peter Wellington wants a parliamentary committee to consider legislation to allow death with dignity. Photo: Che Chapman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Speaker Peter Wellington wants a parliamentary committee to consider legislation to allow death with dignity. Photo: Che Chapman / Sunshine Coast Daily Che Chapman

A LETTER from the Queensland Governor next week is expected to trigger a renewed push for dying with dignity legislation.

The letter will signify formal approval of the decision by the Parliament to change legislation to allow its committees to independently initiate inquiries into matters of their choosing.

Speaker Peter Wellington signalled last week his intent to ask the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Committee to do just that.

He wants a thorough review of euthanasia practices with a view to Queensland joining the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Vermont, California and Canada, which all allow assisted death for people suffering extreme pain and terminal illness.

Tasmanian and NSW parliaments are expected to see Private Members' Bills introduced this year. The Victorian Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee report into End of Life Choices recommended that government introduce legislation to allow assisted dying.

Advocate Marshall Perron, of Buderim, said evidence given to the Victorian inquiry had highlighted some of the horrific ways frail and elderly Victorians are choosing to end their lives.

He said the State Coroner told the committee people were dying alone and in pain. The Coroner told the committee people often died earlier than they desired because they believed they must act alone, before they were no longer capable, and so that their loved ones were not implicated in their death.

Mr Wellington has urged people who support the proposition to write to the committee for it to consider the issue during the current Parliamentary term. He will write to committee chair Leanne Linnard MP, asking the committee to "assess the practices currently being utilised within the medical community to assist a person to exercise their preferences for the way they want to manage their end of life including the role of palliative care".

He wants the committee to "review the current framework of legislation, proposed legislation and other relevant reports and materials in other Australian states and territories and overseas" and to "consider the type of legislative change that may be required".

Topics:  die with dignity, peter wellington, queensland government, voluntary euthanasia


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