Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles has written to British MPs urging them to back euthanasia laws for the terminally ill. Source: The Australian.
Mr Miles, who championed his state’s voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws, has made a submission to British parliamentary inquiry “exploring arguments across the debate”.
In a letter to the committee, Mr Miles said ensuring health practitioners were given conscientious objection was a “fundamental tenant” of Queensland’s law along with safeguards to prevent coercion or exploitation.
In 2015, British MPs were overwhelmingly against euthanasia in their first vote on the issue in almost two decades. Euthanasia will be revisited this year by a parliamentary committee, to be chaired by Conservative MP Steve Brine, which will make recommendations to government.
The inquiry will specifically examine what can be learnt from other countries where the practice is legal.
All six Australian states are due to have programs running by the end of the year, with South Australia’s scheme launching next week followed by New South Wales in November. Federal laws restricting the ACT and Northern Territory from legislating on euthanasia were repealed last year but restrictions remain on providing VAD advice via telehealth.
Mr Miles’s submission made three recommendations: undertake extensive consultation, avoid terms that refer to “suicide” or “euthanasia”, and ensure a well-resourced palliative care scheme.
VAD began in Queensland on January 1, amid deep Church anger that religious hospital and residential aged care services would be forced to allow assisted dying onsite.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge in December said people undertaking euthanasia would generally not receive the sacrament of Viaticum – Holy Communion for the dying – a key part of the last rites.
Miles urges British MPs to back voluntary assisted dying laws (By Lydia Lynch, The Australian)