Dissenting reports warn that the Queensland Bill is "fatally flawed" and will lead to "wrongful deaths" of vulnerable Queenslanders
Only the three Government MPs on the Parliament of Queensland's Health and Environment Committee supported a recommendation that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 be passed with each of the other three members of the Committee tabling individual responses.
Dr Mark Robinson MP warned, in a detailed 24 page dissenting report, that, if passed, the Bill would inevitably lead to wrongful deaths of vulnerable Queenslanders.
Mr Stephen Andrew in a shorter but pithy dissenting report described the Bill as "fatally flawed by its very intention to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Queensland".
In essence the Bill would legalise the prescription and supply of a poison "in sufficient dose to cause death" for either self-administration or administration by a medical or nurse practitioner.
Dr Robinson warned:
Many vulnerable people experience subtle pressure to take their own life – some are made to feel almost duty bound to their family or to society to end their life prematurely. When elder abuse is combined with legalised access to the administration of life-ending poisons, it inevitably leaves the most vulnerable at risk of being coerced into ending their lives by assistance to suicide or euthanasia.
This results in wrongful deaths, whereby people’s lives are taken from them without their full cognisance or consent.
Wrongful deaths have followed these laws everywhere they are introduced.
His dissenting report, after a careful and detailed analysis of the clauses of the Bill, makes the following findings:
The Bill would make it legal for one person to take the life or help end the life of another person, or to
counsel or help another person to take their life.
The Bill would increase the number of suicides in Queensland as opposed to reducing them.
The Bill fails to ensure that only eligible people will be able to access assisted suicide or euthanasia.
The Bill fails to ensure that patients are offered all options to manage their illness prior to the
commencement of any life-ending procedure.
The Bill fails to adequately define “suffering” to limit it to intolerable physical pain.
The Bill provides inadequate protection to those affected by a mental illness.
The Bill fails to protect the vulnerable from coercion and undue influence.
The Bill fails to safeguard the vulnerable from a prolonged, complicated or painful death as a result
of the administration of a poison prescribed under the Bill’s provisions.
It concludes by recommending that the Bill not be passed.
Mr Andrew points to the particular risk for indigenous Queenslanders:
As an Australian South Sea Islander, I also have concerns about the lack of consultation with indigenous Queenslanders on this critical public health life and death issue. The barriers many indigenous Australians face in getting timely, quality medical care is tragic. This Bill if enacted would do nothing to improve medical care for vulnerable groups like indigenous Australians.
The Australian Care Alliance's submission on the Bill also points out how the Bill, if passed, will lead to wrongful deaths.