There are two main issues currently on the agenda in WA’s parliament.
Both have serious implications for families, human dignity and could significantly shift what our state considers to be compassionate.
Firstly, is the issue of surrogacy.
Having passed the lower house, the Human Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Amendment Bill 2018 is currently stuck in the upper house.
The Liberal opposition lead speaker on the bill Hon Nick Goiran spoke for an impressive nine hours exposing the shortcomings of this Bill, demanding that the Government release the Report of the review of the two acts.
There are parts which do not support the Labor government's stance in the Amendment Bill.
The Bill in its current form will allow single men the ability to access a surrogacy agreement – an option which single women have had for the past ten years. However, no woman has ever requested surrogacy in the decade since.
We know that children who grow up in a loving home with a mother and a father fare better on all levels.
Is it not more compassionate for us to remove the ability for any single person to access surrogacy than open it up further?
There is a possibility that the Government will now abandon the Bill, but it is not over yet.
We need to keep the pressure on the upper house members to oppose the Bill in case it is brought on for debate.
The second issue being considered by our parliament is euthanasia. An often emotive and polarising issue, it strikes right to the heart of what we consider to be compassionate.
Health minister Roger Cook released a discussion paper from his Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying has released a discussion paper, which considers what is the world’s best practice for euthanasia and how WA can implement the right safeguards.
However, what we know from international experience is that ‘world’s best practice’ often ends with euthanasia on demand – and for all kinds of reasons even depression, along with children as young as nine being euthanised.
The Panel will be holding public forums throughout the state starting on 15th April and has also invited written submissions to the discussion questions in the report.
We encourage you to attend and ask questions, such as: How will the legislation seek to prevent the wrongful deaths that have occurred in other jurisdictions.
If you have not done so, write to your upper house MPs expressing your opposition to the euthanasia – we want to see a steady flow of emails and letters coming to them. The Government plans to introduce legislation after the winter recess – probably late August or early September.