Townsville Bulletin

Free VAD vote vital


THERE is one week to go until the Queensland parliament debates and votes on an historic bill, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.

This Bill has had a three-year journey to get here.

As chair of the Health Committee, we were tasked with an inquiry in November 2018, that included examining aged care, palliative care, end of life and seeking the views of Queensland­ers on Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD).

We separated the reports and made 77 recommenda­tions in the aged care and palliative care report, which led to the state government committing a further $171m to palliative care.

This is important as some of those LNP MPS who oppose VAD say more funding is required for palliative care.

They can’t hide behind this as an excuse to not support the Bill as our government has committed increased funding for palliative care in Queensland.

Given VAD has never been put before the parliament, we tabled a second report, making 21 recommenda­tions to introduce a Bill to provide people with a terminal illness the choice to access VAD.

As part of this process, thousands of people shared their deeply personal stories of watching loved ones suffer and told us of those who were diagnosed with a terminal illness, suffering in pain or tragically committing suicide. This should never be the only choice for those where pain and suffering cannot be relieved.

After our first report, the QLRC produced a significan­t report, which provided the legal framework for VAD in Queensland. More consultati­on was done by the Health

Committee to examine the Bill.

Our committee recently tabled our report recommendi­ng the Bill be passed, without amendment.

As the local MP in Thuringowa, I have contacted over 2000 residents, conducted polls and surveys over the last three years on this issue.

This is important as the VAD Bill will be a conscience vote.

A conscience vote allows a MP to freely vote and the vote need not be along party lines.

They should vote according to their constituen­ts who voted them in to represent their views.

Sadly, the three Katter MPS have indicated they won’t be supporting giving people who have a terminal illness the choice to access VAD.

None of these MPS attended public hearings in their own electorate­s to hear from the public. I note the Member for Burdekin also went missing on this as well. This is a sad reflection of these MPS in North Queensland who are not listening to their constituen­ts.

My office has received correspond­ence from people who live in these other electorate­s, who feel frustrated and are angry their MP is either silent or not supporting VAD.

Given his silence, I suspect the LNP leader David Crisafulli won’t support this important Bill either.

We know the issue has never been supported at LNP state conference­s.

Let’s hope we don’t see any

LNP MPS threatened with disendorse­ment again. This should be a free conscience vote.

I urge those constituen­ts to call out their MP, contact them and share their stories and vote accordingl­y.

This issue should rightly be above political party lines and religion. It’s about people.

AARON HARPER, Member for Thuringowa.


FATHER’S Day at the Coolangatt­a/ Tweed Heads hard border saw families separated at closed borders, hugging and intermingl­ing with each other.

No social distancing or masks by family members were evident, despite the regulation­s.

How was that tolerated at all, regardless of relationsh­ips?

If aged-care facilities are off limits to family members, how could the powers that monitor the border turn a blind eye?

It’s asking for trouble!

NSW is literally Covid-positive, statewide!

The line in the sand is our border, which protects Queensland­ers!

It’s been already transgress­ed by three truck drivers who tested positive, with one having spread the Delta strain to two close contacts in Logan, unwittingl­y.

If this kind of border breach continues, Queensland will soon be facing the drama of both NSW and Victoria, where the horse has bolted.

We have the lowest vaccinatio­n rates of all states and cannot hold out forever against those who continue to breach the restrictio­ns.

The lessons are slowly sinking in, in southwest Sydney, where vaccinatio­n is the only way out of lockdown.

Don’t tempt fate here.


Tannum Sands.

There is a huge lie here in Queensland that the government is keeping us safe from Covid by keeping the borders closed, but the truth is the borders are only closed to law abiding people who don’t have money to buy their way across. If you want to slip over the border or you can afford to pay your way then you can get in. There’s little vaccinatio­ns, little real border control it’s just luck keeping the virus out. NOISY MYNAH

Another night another rampage by juvenile crims in stolen cars ramming police vehicles, what is the best the police Minister Mark Ryan can come up with? The police will be ruthless and hunt them down and charge them! What happens then Mr Ryan? This bloke is as delusional as the member for Thuringowa Arron Harper. RON KELSO.

Does QLD have legislatio­n regarding the use of motor vehicles as weapons? The natural evolution in the escalation of violence to police and civilians by juvenile criminals in stolen cars is alarming. Sadly, it’s unlikely such a law will be considered by the Palaszczuk rabble until the next election is imminent. Similarly, the Premier’s Personal Policewoma­n will never authorise a pursuit policy, regardless of the danger to the public posed by these scum. JEFF, CONDON.

On Monday at noon, I took a tumble in the carpark at Warrina. I face planted and opened a large gash on my forehead as well as other cuts and bruises. Several young people came to my assistance immediatel­y and used their baby wipes to stop the bleeding and contacted my husband. Another couple contacted the ambulance and all waited until the ambo’s arrived. I was transporte­d to the Townsville University Hospital for stitches and treatment. I would like to profusely thank all those who assisted me and the treatment by the ambo’s and Emergency Department was excellent and I cannot speak highly enough of their caring nature and profession­alism. Townsville people are amazing. Thanks to all the care, I am now well on the way to recovery, battered and bruised but thankful.


Well Townsville don’t be surprised at these latest incidents by the young recidivist­s, they are immune and a protected species. The police are now the targets and the list goes on. Only when the politician­s become targets will we have a result. M J REYNOLDS MT LOUISA

So the police are going to make sure those responsibl­e for the damage to the police cars are “held to account”. Great, but how about those responsibl­e for all the private citizens’ damaged and stolen cars be “held to account”, too. DENNY BURDELL.

Are we surprised that two of the Labor states with the lowest vaccinatio­n rates are the states fighting to keep us locked down longer. JR 4810.

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