CONSULTATION PAPER ON VOLUNTARY ASSISTED DYING
The paper puts forward a model for voluntary assisted dying and is designed to inform public debate, and seek feedback, ahead of the drafting of a joint Private Members Bill later this year.
As I stated when summarising the debate on my Dying with Dignity Bill 2009, the law is meant to protect the quality of our lives while we are alive, and it should also protect the quality of our lives while we are dying. Currently the law fails to do this.
During my first attempt at reform in 2009 I was deeply moved by listening to the experiences of many terminally ill people and their families. I pledged to them that I would not give up and I haven’t.
- May 2009 – I first introduced my Private Members Bill, the Dying with Dignity Bill 2009
- 18 June 2009 – the Bill was referred to a Joint House Standing Committee on Community Development
- October 2009 – The Committee delivered its report, (silent on whether voluntary euthanasia should be decriminalised)
- 4 November 2009 – my Private Members Bill, Dying with Dignity Bill, was debated in the House of Assembly. Defeated 7 to 15 votes. Some members who voted against he Bill said they support voluntary euthanasia but held concerns about the workability of some aspects of the model presented by that Bill.
Polling has shown that the community strongly supports voluntary assisted dying if an appropriate model, tailored to the needs of Tasmania could be put forward.
For the past two years much time and energy has gone into analysing the models for voluntary assisted dying already operational in Oregon, Washington State, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland as well as recent reviews of the issue in Canada and the UK. We have enlisted the expertise of clinicians, legal experts, and advocacy groups and believe we have now settled upon the most appropriate model for Tasmania. A model that will offer a compassionate solution to those suffering under extremely difficult circumstances.
We believe that we have been able to present a compassionate and best-practice model to regulate voluntary assisted dying which will protect both the patients and their doctors.
We hope that this consultation paper encourages Tasmanians to talk with their families and doctors and come to a position on what their end-of-life expectations are . These are not easy conversations to have, but are important in ensuring that end-of-life wishes are known and respected.
Submissions close on Friday 15 March 2013. Responses should be sent to GPO Box 123, Hobart, Tasmania 7001 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are links to the discussion paper, it’s companion document which summarises the main points of the paper, the consultations points and a collection of documents that provide a background to this proposed reform.
February 3, 2013