Bulletin 25

Bulletin 25

Jane Morris of Media Watch has presented her readers with such a comprehensive coverage of the Queensland vote for their VAD legislation that I have decided to copy it in full for you rather than condense it.

The things I draw from her report to note is that the legislation was passed very easily with a 64 vote For the Bill to 27 No vote and it was the first time the Queensland Parliament voted on a VAD bill. This seems to indicate that those who are elected to parliament are finally listening to their voters and that we are slowly but surely taking steps to making the whole of Australia one where people can obtain a peaceful death when they request it.

Jane has also provided us with a helpful list of the differences between the different legislations.

As I noted in my last Bulletin to you there are now only two legislatures that are holding Australia back; NSW and the Federal Parliament.

MEDIA WATCH, September 12-19, 2021

\MPs from both parties, supposedly, voted according to their consciences and refrained from having to adhere to party policy. On Thursday evening, after 55 separate amendments had been debated and rejected, the legislation passed 64 votes to 27. Only 47 votes had been required for the Legislation to pass.

Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, ALP, began proceedings by tabling Tanya Battel’s petition that she and Fiona Jacobs had presented to him earlier in the week. The petition had over 110,000 signatures from Queenslanders supportive of VAD.

\The major differences in this Bill compared to Victorian Legislation are –

  • Unlike Victorian and Legislation in other States, a 12-month prognosis in which death is likely to occur was included.
  • Faith based facilities may conscientiously object to practising VAD but cannot prevent VAD providers from entering their facilities.
  • Health practitioners who have a conscientious objection will have the right to choose not to partake but must refer their patient to a doctor who is likely to assist them.
  • It is not necessary for one of the two assessing doctors to be a Specialist.
  • Doctors can initiate the topic of VAD with their patients.

From amongst the AYES 

  • Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, “This is about choice. This is not about me or anyone in this House telling someone else what to do. This is about the choice of an individual to say how they wish to end their life with dignity. Dignity is a word that I hold dear to me. There is dignity in work. There is dignity in the family and the friends that surround you.”
  • Steven Miles ALP, “It cannot give people who are dying back their lives. Sadly, we do not have that power, but we can give them some control over the timing and circumstances in which they die: to be surrounded by family and loved ones in a peaceful, private space — their own home if that is what they choose — hands held, farewells said, tears and stories shared — the kind of tearful laughs and memories that make for the most powerful funerals”.
  • Brent Mickleberg LNP,“LNPs charter of “freedom of citizens to choose their own way of living” should be extended to those facing death.”
  • From Meaghan Scanlon ALP, who lost her father to melanoma when she was 13 in a battle she described as “long and taxing”. “This bill isn’t about a choice between life and death — that fate has already been determined. This won’t cause a single extra death. It will just ensure less suffering.”
  • Health Minister Yvette D’Ath ALP, said she noted that the eligibility criteria in the bill “probably does not go as far as some would like” and does not cover a variety of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Michael Crandon LNP, commended Bill to the House and described it as a “transformative and beautiful step”.
  • Aaron Harper “Three years of work and I think it was pretty emotional to come to that conclusion, but we are on the right side of history.” “We will finally give those suffering… the choice.”
  • Michael Hart LNP, “Ultimately, I believe in the right of people to make their own choices in life and now, I guess, in death. I checked with my electorate and they agree with me.”
  • Tim Nicholls LNP, Why would a compassionate society deny that wish to someone already dying and suffering? Surely the most important focus for all of us is not how someone dies but how they lived.
  • Sandy Bolton Ind., I am truly blessed to live in a community where those that would never consider VAD for themselves would not deny the right of choice to others.

And amongst the NOES:  

  • Michael Crandon LNP, commended Bill to the House and described it as a “transformative and beautiful step”.
  • Ali King ALP, anyone who uses palliative care as an excuse to object to the bill is “simply not listening to terminally ill people”.
  • Treasurer Cameron Dick ALP, “The dying should never believe or be led to believe our world is better off without them”. He further stated that he would support the laws with a ‘troubled conscience’, concerned about future expansion of the law to include children and the mentally ill.
  • Opposition Leader, David Crisafulli LNP, voted against the bill and stated that if the bill were to be passed en bloc, it should not be considered to have passed on conscience votes. He also expressed concerns about inadequate funding to Palliative Care.
  • Trevor Watts LNP, the Bill is unsafe and will lead to premature deaths and incorrectly asserts that junior doctors will become VAD providers.
  • MP Colin Boyce LNP – VAD was an “insidious form of elder abuse”
  • The three sitting KAP MPs voted against the bill, and Robbie Katter stated; “This then becomes a question of rich versus poor in how this legislation rolls out.”
  • David Janetzki LNP, voted against the Bill but nevertheless put forward 54 amendments!!
  • And my favourite!…Andrew Powell LNP – “My vote doesn’t reflect my electorate’s views – Jesus guides the way I operate” Certainly this MP can’t be accused of dishonesty but why is he an MP?

COMMENTS FROM OTHERS

  • The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge stated “The die is cast and across the Rubicon we go”- “Some kind of victory for the government but a real defeat for Queensland, a victory for death but a defeat for life. Now we await the dark spectacle of unexpected consequences.”
  • Catholic Health Australia chair John Watkins said the bill placed the sites in an “invidious and extraordinary position”.
  • Catholic Health Australia, “we have made it clear all along to the Government that we will not allow VAD in our hospitals or aged care facilities.
  • Faith based services were “deeply disappointed” that the long-held belief of the sanctity of human life had now been trampled upon.
  • Former NT Chief Minister, Marshall Perron, told reporters during a brief lunch reprieve in the debate, which he had been following from the public gallery. “I’ve tracked every bit of legislation on this issue in Australia for the last 26 years and this is the best bill so far.”
  • Clem Jones Trust chair David Muir said there was an “overwhelming sense of relief” for terminally ill patients and their families.
  • The Australian, Jamie Walker, “There was something almost anticlimactic in the passage of Queensland’s voluntary euthanasia law on Thursday, so inevitable was its progression through the lone-chamber state parliament.”

And from Professors  Ben White and Lindy Willmott, a short, animated video, Law-making about Voluntary Assisted Dying must be based on reliable evidence

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