The Queensland government is facing increasing pressure to follow Victoria and pass laws to legalise euthanasia, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.
Creevey Russell’s Wills and Estates lawyer Rachel Greenslade said the passing of the Assisted Dying Bill in Victoria could be replicated in other states and territories in coming years.
Ms Greenslade said while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said the issue will not be considered in her state this year, she has left the door open to possible euthanasia reform.
“There is some strong support for the legalisation of euthanasia in Queensland including a push by the estate of former Brisbane Lord Mayor Clem Jones,” Ms Greenslade said.
Ms Greenslade said following an 18-month implementation period in Victoria, 2019 will mark the first time in Australia those suffering from terminal illnesses causing intolerable pain will have the right to choose to die with assistance.
“Quite rightfully, assisted dying comes with strict eligibility requirements,” she said.
“To be eligible you must be over 18, be suffering from an incurable illness, not be expected to live more than six months, be deemed capable of making decisions by two doctors and reside in Victoria for at least 12 months prior to applying for assisted dying.
“Patients who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to obtain a lethal drug from their doctor within 10 days of asking to die and after undergoing two independent medical assessments. The patient will also be responsible for administering the drug themselves but a doctor may assist in very rare situations where the patient is physically unable.”
“Although there is concern the new laws will make elderly patients more vulnerable to abuse and coercion, the legislation has a variety of safeguards including robust witnessing requirements and the creation of new criminal offences.”
“This is a very emotive issue, and until you have held the hand of a loved one dying from a terminal illness it is difficult to relate.”
“At the end of the day it is not about how family or the public feels; it is about granting someone the right to put an end to their own suffering.”
Rachel Greenslade (07) 4617 8777