THE SLOPE JUST GOT MORE SLIPPERY ON ASSISTED SUICIDE

Queensland’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 is a further step down the dangerous path of government assisted suicide. We need to be clear – what we are dealing with is government supported and government funded suicide.  This bill is a brazen plan to widen the net of vulnerable patients who are eligible to end their lives by doctor assisted suicide.   Each new bill incrementally reduces safeguards – the slippery slope, ‘scope creep’.

The time period for eligibility is doubled to 12 months prior to death. This will more than double the number of assisted suicides in the State. Doctors advise us even a six-month life expectancy is difficult to predict yet the Queensland government has expanded this eligibility category beyond the Victorian, Western Australian and Tasmanian models.
The bill also loosens the eligibility tests that have been legislated elsewhere by including patients who have other “types of eligible diseases” to access the scheme. This may include patients with deteriorating renal conditions or long- term uncontrolled diabetes. Queenslanders with a disability or mental illness can also access the scheme if they meet the expanded 12-month eligibility criteria as well as the other eligibility criteria. These patients are already vulnerable members of our communities and may feel pressured to end their lives because they believe they are a burden to families. Weak safeguards are weakened further.
A Queensland residency exemption could be obtained if a person has a “substantial connection” to Queensland or even a ‘compassionate’ reason. This is much weaker than in other States. Even New Zealanders on special residency visas are eligible for exemption.
Doctors or even nurse practitioners will be able to initiate discussion about assisted suicide with patients. How many patients will give up on otherwise warranted treatment which may save their life when, in the doctor’s surgery the ‘alternative’ option of assisted suicide could be raised?
Hidden in over 100 pages of legal wording this bill is simply an affront to the dignity of human life and will be opposed.


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