It was a momentous week in Parliament with the passing of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill (VAD) 2021. It has been a long journey, and when I think it was in 2018 that I first asked for the inquiry into VAD, I am almost aghast at the length of this process into bringing into Chamber what was requested by a majority of Queenslanders. For so many, 30 years of their advocacy for ‘choice’ all hinged on what is termed a ‘conscience’ vote of 93 MPs in the last Parliamentary sitting.
With polls and surveys showing overwhelming support in our electorate, the extensive research, consultation and reviews undertaken, as well the work over 3 years by two separate Health Committee’s, the right to access choice for those who seek and qualify under very strict criteria was voted in 61 to 30. As submitted by those both ‘for’ and ‘against’ increased funding for palliative care from the day of a terminal diagnosis must be a priority.
There are so many to thank for this outcome: Dying with Dignity Queensland, Go Gentle Australia, VALE, Doctors for Assisted Dying, the Clem Jones Group and Nurses Supporting VAD are just some. As well, Andrew Denton, David Muir, Everald Compton, Lindsay Marshall, Jos Hall, Fiona Jacobs and so many, many more. To both Health Ministers and Departmental staff, members of the two Health Committees and your secretariats, all submitters and hearing attended, we appreciate the enormous amount of work you undertook over these 3 years.
You can find my full VAD speech at https://tv.parliament.qld.gov.au/?reference=0Mba20210915_152440
The Health Committee Report can be found at https://documents.parliament.qld.gov.au/tableOffice/TabledPapers/2021/5721T707.pdf
The Queensland Law Reform Commission report is available at https://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/681131/qlrc-report-79-a-legal-framework-for-voluntary-assisted-dying.pdf