Qld Speaker wants 'Dying With Dignity' inquiry
THE push to introduce Dying With Dignity legislation now gaining momentum across Australia has been boosted by Nicklin MP Peter Wellington's plans to push for a fresh Queensland Parliament investigation into the issue.
The voluntary euthanasia movement is now in full flight in South Australia and Victoria, boosted by the involvement of film and television producer and comedian Andrew Denton.
Former Northern Territory Chief Minister Marshall Perron, of Buderim, who introduced Australia's first "right to die" legislation only to have its squashed by a federal Coalition government, is working with a team assembled by Mr Denton in the southern states to pursue reform and with Mr Wellington in Queensland.
He is also working with Mr Wellington, the Parliamentary Speaker, who says it is time Queenslanders were consulted about end-of-life choices for adults, especially those experiencing unbearable and hopeless suffering.
Mr Wellington was responsible for the introduction of the Rights of the Terminally Ill legislation in Queensland which protects from prosecution doctors whose advanced-care patients die as a consequence of the medication they've been administered to relieve pain and suffering.
"Once our Governor approves recent changes to the Parliament of Queensland Act so that our parliamentary committees can conduct enquiries on their own initiative, I will ask our Health Committee to hold an enquiry into this important topic," he said.
"Every one talks about euthanasia but politicians don't want to.
"Voluntary euthanasia has been a taboo subject for too long and I believe Queenslanders should have their say.
"I believe there is overwhelming support for adults who are experiencing unbearable and hopeless suffering, to be able to request assistance to die."
Mr Wellington has proposed terms of reference for a Queensland inquiry which, he said, were similar to the Victorian Legislative Council inquiry conducted last year.
He will ask the committee if it would "consider and report on the need for laws in Queensland, to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end-of-life choices".
In particular, Mr Wellington would like it to consider the the practices used 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; review the current framework of legislation, proposed legislation and other relevant reports and materials in other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions; and to consider what type of legislative change may be required, including an examination of any federal laws that may impact such legislation.
Mr Wellington said as Speaker it was not appropriate for him to introduce a Private Member's Bill.
And while he would ask the committee to investigate there was no certainty it would support the request.
"It is important that people who share my views write to the committee."
The address is: Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee, Parliament House, George Street, BRISBANE QLD 4000 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org