Queensland euthanasia laws undermine health care ethos

The Queensland legislation allows an outside practitioner to enter Catholic facilities to administer euthanasia to a patient (Bigstock)

In passing euthanasia legislation last week, the Queensland Government apparently has decided the medical and ethical expertise of Catholic health institutions should be ignored, writes Angela Shanahan. Source: The Weekend Australian.

In a powerful speech, Queensland opposition education and the arts spokesman Christian Rowan stressed there were ethical, medical and professionally unacceptable provisions in these laws, which grant access to institutions by practitioners who have no admitting rights or accreditation and which will affect any facility, public, private, Catholic or secular.

Queensland’s euthanasia legislation allows a doctor or even a nurse to walk into a hospital, nursing home or hospice, ignore the treating doctors and administer a lethal injection whether the patient has any relationship to that person or not.

Naturally, a Catholic hospital will not allow this to happen because it would implicate the staff in a deliberate killing and undermine its ethical basis. However, if the patient can be moved safely they would be prepared to move the patient to somewhere outside the hospital. But if the patient cannot be safely moved the legislation also allows an outside euthanasia practitioner to overrule the treating doctors to have the patient moved or, worse, simply to march into the hospital and do the death-delivering deed.

The ramifications of this are what puts this legislation into the unique class of government by fiat of the foolish. All the amendments that would have ameliorated any standoff between practitioners of euthanasia and Catholic hospitals and hospices have been rejected.

Consequently it seems clear that the protocols governing these situations will not be the result of measured discussion and compromise but dictated to the institutions from the government.

Angela Shanahan is a columnist for The Weekend Australian.


Queensland assisted dying laws undermine healthcare ethos (By Angela Shanahan, The Weekend Australian

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