State to look at assisted dying report

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

A parliamentary committee has recommended the state government introduce voluntary euthanasia legislation in a report tabled last month.

Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices made the recommendation that the state government form a panel of health and legal experts to develop voluntary assisted dying legislation in its My Life, My Choice report.

In order to compile the report, the committee spent 12 months listening to the views of health organisations, stakeholders and the public on the need for assisted dying legislation.

In the report, committee chairperson Amber-Jade Sanderson said ‘too many Western Australians [were] experiencing profound suffering as they die’ and ‘the current lawful options available to people experiencing grievous and irremediable suffering at end of life [were] inadequate’.

The report also made recommendations that limited the eligibility of people utilising voluntary euthanasia to those whose suffering from an ‘advanced and progressive terminal, chronic or neurodegenerative condition that cannot be alleviated in a manner acceptable to the person’ and that health professionals should not be compelled to participate in the framework.

Victoria became the first state to pass legislation on voluntary assisted dying last year after allowing MPs a conscience vote on the issue.

It is expected any similar legislation introduced into Western Australian parliament would also result in a conscience vote.

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said the assisted dying issue was one he would need to consider carefully before a vote.

“This has been a year-long parliamentary inquiry, so we want to make sure that the findings within the report are considered carefully and with appropriate time and care,” he said.

“At this stage I am still in the process of examining the report.

“When a bill is drafted and presented to parliament I will read that bill and make my decision.

“I will not be bound by party politics on this matter as it will ultimately be a conscience vote.”