The Chronicle

VAD bill debate begins


TOOWOOMBA South MP and Deputy Leader of the LNP David Janetzki has proposed 54 amendments to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill that’s currently before Queensland parliament.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill has reached the floor of Queensland parliament yesterday, with MPs set to debate the contentiou­s piece of legislatio­n this week.

Toowoomba’s LNP members of parliament David Janetzki and Trevor Watts have both indicated they will vote against the bill, while Condamine MP Pat Weir said he will leave his decision until the last minute.

On the floor of Queensland parliament yesterday Mr Janetzki said 2000 years of medical and legal practice in preserving the dignity of life would be overturned under the proposed legislatio­n.

The proposed amendments would include only allowing a person to access the scheme if their condition was incurable, and that “mental suffering” be included as part of the eligibilit­y requiremen­ts.

Another amendment stipulated that a psychiatri­st or psychologi­st must determine whether a person has decisionma­king capacity.

Mr Janetzki also proposed that pharmacist­s and social workers have the right to exercise a conscienti­ous objection.

Referencin­g a letter from 19 former Queensland presidents of the Australian Medical Associatio­n stating that doctors should not be involved in a process where the primary intention was the end of a patient’s life.

He said “scope creep” would be inevitable and legislatio­n would slowly weaken to include further patients to qualify for voluntary assisted dying procedures.

“If for patients who are terminally ill, why not for those who are not terminal?” he said.

“The qualificat­ion of intractabl­e and unbearable pain may come to include those with chronic fatigue, depression, anorexia.”

Mr Janetzki last week said he had “serious concerns” about the bill, referring to his own personal experience as a reason he had come to his decision.

“My own brother, as a little boy, was given five years to live. That was 40 years ago,” he said.

“I had engage deeply with constituen­ts and stakeholde­rs throughout this process over the last few years.”

Assisted dying would be available to people who have an advanced, progressiv­e condition expected to cause death within 12 months.

The person must also have capacity to make decisions and act voluntaril­y.

Toowoomba South MP Trevor Watts said last week he would also vote against the bill if unamended.

“The bill at present does not ensure informed consent because there is no specialist palliative care input and it cannot ensure the patient is of sound mind because there is no specialist psychiatri­c input,” he said.

“The bill does not even require the doctor performing euthanasia to make contact with the patient’s usual GP to get informatio­n about possible elder abuse or depression.”

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