WA Government to vote on new voluntary assisted dying laws

Terminally ill Western Australians could soon end their suffering, with voluntary assisted dying laws to be introduced into State Parliament.

The McGowan Government will bring the new laws into Parliament today, which will allow terminally ill Western Australians to end their lives.

The bill is a more conservative version of the voluntary assisted dying regime recommended by an expert panel earlier this year, based largely on the Victorian model that came into effect in June.

The previous framework was criticised as being “not as safe”.

If it is passed, it would make WA the second state in Australia to legalise the practice.

However, it is expected to face intense debate with MPs to make a conscience vote in Parliament.

Under the proposed laws, a person attempting to access voluntary euthanasia would need to be 18 years of age or over to qualify.

They would need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and have been a WA resident for at least 12 months.

They would need to be terminally ill with a condition that is causing them intolerable suffering and is likely to cause death within six months, or 12 months for neurodegenerative condition.

Two doctors independent of each other would have to have the requests signed off and there would be a minimum of nine days between the initial request and final approval.

The lethal medication choice would be a clinical decision.

It comes as Perth woman Belinda Teh walked 4,500 kilometres from Melbourne to Perth in honour of her mother, who died after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Ms Teh said her mother “died with her eyes  wide open” after requesting twice help to die on her terms, but was refused.

She met Premier Mark McGowan on the steps of Parliament House on Tuesday.

Mr McGowan said the bill was a culmination of a comprehensive consultation process to ensure the needs of WA’s community were addressed.

“Many people across the community who have had their parents or loved one pass away in agony want something done, and that’s what this is about,” he said.

“We have been looking at this issue in its entirety,”

He said he welcomed debate from all sides of politics on the issue.

“Voluntary assisted dying is a significant issue for WA and every member of parliament deserves the right to speak and vote on the legislation,” Mr McGowan said.

“I would urge for a respectful, factual and dignified debate.”

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