Western Australia

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The Parliament of Western Australia is investigating end-of-life choices including VAD. Photo: WA Parliament

DyingForChoice.com's major submission to the Parliament of Western Australia on end-of-life choices, including assisted dying, has now been published and is available online. It contains recent updates to research data about assisted dying.

Download a full copy of the submission PDF.

Table of Contents

Terms of reference. p5

Definitions. 6

Statement of Barbara Roberts, former Governor of Orergon. 7

Part A: Introduction. 8
  A critical principle. 8
  Decision-making biases to be avoided. 8
  Potential bias 1: Strong emotional language diminishes critical faculties. 8
  Potential bias 2: Repetition doesn’t make a falsehood true. 8
  Potential bias 3: Use of ‘authorities’ as undeserved ‘evidence’ cues. 8
  Assisted dying law reform is necessary. 9
  Consequences of denying lawful assisted dying choice. 10
  Overmedicalisation and institutionalisation of death. 12
  Choice to die can be rational 13
  Regulation of existing underground practice. 14

Part B: Overwhelming support. 16
  Australian voter attitudes by demographic. 16
  Assisted dying a major issue for voters. 20
  More supporters than opponents think reform important. 20
  Voters will punish opposing MPs more. 20
  Not just a silver-hair issue. 21
  Summary of Australian public attitudes. 22
  Australian health professional opinion.. 23
  AMA opposed stance indefensible. 23
  RACGP supportive stance. 23
  Nurses & Midwives’ Federation supportive stance. 23
  Australian Psychological Society supportive stance. 24

Part C: Opposing arguments critiqued. 25
  Time to name up filibustering for what it is. 25
  Hippocratic Oath fictions. 25
  ‘First do no harm’ fails in the real world. 26
  Assisted dying is not about ‘saving money’. 27
  Assisted dying is consistent with the right to life. 28
  Palliative care availability improves. 28
  Trust in doctors remains high. 28
  Ample evidence against ‘slippery slope’ theories. 30
  Failure 1: Rhetorical sham. 30
  Failure 2: Unsupported by overseas evidence. 32
  Failure 3: Unsupported by domestic evidence. 33
  Opposing world views can be concurrently accommodated. 35

Part D: Correcting misinformation about lawful jurisdictions. 37
  Dr Els Borst remains proud of euthanasia law reform. 37
  Dutch elderly happy with nursing homes. 38
  Non-voluntary euthanasia rates fall, not rise. 39
  No suicide contagion. 42
  Not in Oregon. 42
  Not in Switzerland. 45
  Not in the Netherlands. 46
  Not in Belgium. 48
  Belgian nurses are like anywhere else. 49
  Dutch happy to go to hospital 51
  Groningen Protocol a wise policy. 52
  Theo Boer always an assisted dying law sceptic. 52
  Women are not vulnerable to voluntary euthanasia laws. 53
  Victorian MP publishes extensive misinformation..\ 54
  Opponents admit no slippery slope ‘cause and effect’. 54

Part E: Potential models of assisted dying law reform. 56
  Oregon/Washington model. 56
  Benelux model. 56
  Swiss model. 57
  Options for Western Australia. 58

Conclusion. 59

Statement of Ginny Burdick, Acting Senate President, Parliament of Oregon. 60

Summary of recommendations. 61

References. 62

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The WA Parliament has established a Committee to investigate end-of-life choices

After months of public remarks about end-of-life choices by the WA Premier Mark McGowan, the WA Parliament has just passed a resolution to establish a Joint Select Committee to investigate end-of-life choices for Western Australians.

Similar to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in 2015/16, the move is a strong step forward in assessing current practice and recommending improvements to both legislative and regulatory oversight of end-of-life for Australians in the west.

The Joint Committee is comprised of eight members, four from the Legislative Assembly (Reece Whitby, Labor, Baldivis; Amber-Jade Sanderson, Labor, Morley; Simon Millman, Labor, Mount Lawley; John McGrath, Liberal, South Perth) and four from the Legislative Council (Robin Chapple, Greens, Mining and Pastoral; Nick Goiran, Liberal, South Metropolitan; Colin Holt, Nationals, South West; Sally Talbot, Labor, South West).

Its terms of reference are:

That the Committee inquire into and report on the need for laws in Western Australia to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end of life choices and, in particular, the Committee should—

  1. assess the practices currently being utilised within the medical community to assist a person to exercise their preferences for the way they want to manage their end of life when experiencing chronic and/or terminal illnesses, including the role of palliative care;
  2. review the current framework of legislation, proposed legislation and other relevant reports and materials in other Australian States and Territories and overseas jurisdictions;
  3. consider what type of legislative change may be required, including an examination of any federal laws that may impact such legislation; and
  4. examine the role of Advanced Health Directives, Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship laws and the implications for individuals covered by these instruments in any proposed legislation.

 
The Committee will soon meet for the first time to elect a Chair and Deputy Chair. It will have up to twelve months to report back to both Houses.

 


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