The Australian Christian Lobby has denounced the Western Australian government’s euthanasia laws as the most dangerous and unsafe in the world, with fewer protections than legislation recently passed in Victoria. Doctors will be allowed to raise Voluntary Assisted Dying (‘VAD’) with patients, and patients can take the poison without any supervision, which even controversial legislation in the Netherlands does not allow.
Parliament’s lower house rose for the year after reconvening for a special recall session today to endorse amendments by the upper house.
ACL WA state director Peter Abetz urged the parliament, press and authorities to apply the strictest scrutiny during a claimed 18-month implementation period, whilst commending the courage and determination of the 11 Legislative Councillors who voted against the VAD Bill.
“Never before have we seen a Premier so publicly and persistently urge the Legislative Councillors not to do the job they are paid to do,” Mr Abetz lamented, “The Premier’s claims of ‘obstruction’, ‘filibustering’ and ‘disgraceful behaviour’ are simply untrue. He should apologise for misleading the public. The Government claimed any amendments would wreck their perfect VAD Bill, yet the Legislative Council make 55 amendments – most of which are improvements and not just grammatical changes. Even so, the conscientious objections of doctors are still inadequately protected and patients can take the poison without any witness being present.”
“The Bill sets a very dangerous precedent, leaving practical details of implementing the VAD scheme to the discretion of the CEO of the Health Department, avoiding parliamentary scrutiny,” Mr Abetz concluded, “It now falls to the press, parliamentary bodies, authorities and the public to be vigilant every step of the way along the implementation to highlight what Britain’s House of Lords concluded, namely that it is simply impossible to make such legislation safe. West Australians suffering from terminal illness deserve proper palliative care, not disposal by euthanasia. We look forward to a future parliament repealing this dangerous legislation.”