March 3, 2024

Euthanasia legislation to be introduced in WA in 2019

The state government has appointed and expert panel to draft a bill.

The government of Western Australia plans to introduce euthanasia legislation next year, according to an announcement this week by State Health Minister Roger Cook.

Mr Cook said that the government plans to introduce a bill into parliament in the second half of 2019, and that it has appointed an expert panel to help draft the bill.

Mr Cook said the bill “will provide those individuals who are experiencing grievous and irremediable suffering associated with advanced and progressive terminal conditions with an additional choice.”

In August a parliamentary committee investigating end of life care in the state published a report that recommended the legalisation of euthanasia for competent patients for whom “death is a reasonably foreseeable outcome”. It is unclear whether the government will follow all of the panel’s recommendations in its bill.

The bill is expected to receive broad support in both the lower and upper houses of parliament, though there are several parliamentarians who have said they will campaign against the bill.

Liberal MP Nick Goiran wrote a dissenting opinion for the joint select committee’s final report, labelling euthanasia a “recipe for elder abuse”.

Australian Medical Association WA president Omar Khorshid said proper consultation with the relevant sectors would be crucial in the process. “There's a lot of safety concerns,” Dr Khorshid said.

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