Queensland End of Life Care Inquiry ‘Long Overdue’
The Queensland government has buckled under increased pressure to follow other states on implementing voluntary euthanasia legislation after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ordered an inquiry into end-of-life care, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.
Creevey Russell Wills and Estates lawyer Rachel Greenslade said the establishment of an inquiry by the Government was “long overdue”.
“It is important that the inquiry investigate the issues surrounding a voluntary assisted dying law and look at the possibility of a law as an end-of life choice,” Ms Greenslade said.
“Voluntary assisted dying legislation should definitely be an issue covered by the inquiry otherwise the inquiry is going to be an ineffective way of spending tax-payer’s money as the laws will inevitably become a topic for reconsideration again in the future.”
The inquiry, which is not supported by the state Opposition, will be led by a parliamentary health committee which will examine all of the issues surrounding end-of-life choices such as residential aged care, palliative care, voluntary assisted dying as well as the broader issues involving the cost and complexity of aged care in Queensland.
Ms Greenslade said Victoria has already paved the way for Queensland by being the first Australian State (with the exception of the Northern Territory passing the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 more than 20 years ago and then the laws being nullified two years later) to legalise voluntary assisted dying provided that the person be suffering from an incurable illness that causes intolerable suffering with a life expectancy of no longer than six months.
“When the parliamentary health committee starts investigating the issues surrounding end-of-life choices, it should also look at the end-of-life choices available to all persons who not only are terminally ill but those who are or suffering from an intolerable medical condition or simply suffering from old age and have little to no quality of life such as the legacy left by Dr David Goodall who at 104 years old had to travel to Switzerland to end his own life,” she said.
“Provided that the person asking for assistance to die meets the eligibility requirements, has properly documented their wishes without duress and has the requisite capacity to make the decision to end their own life, then who are we to stand in their way?”