Early morning ramblings on WA euthanasia bill

The Hansard of the debate on Western Australia's assisted suicide and euthanasia bill discloses the following insights from the three man tag wrestling team of Labor ministers attempting in an all-night sitting to explain  and justify this Bill with its alleged 102 safeguards.

Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that there will be absolutely no oversight by the Review Board of the appropriateness of any referral made by either of the two assessing doctors to third parties to determine the decision making capacity of the person; whether the person is being coerced or not; or the diagnosis and prognosis of a terminal illness.

The Premier also explained that the person did not have to be told about the "plan in respect of the administration of" the lethal poison but that this could be arranged between, for example, the doctor and "the husband" of "an elderly wife".

The Premier seemed confused as to whether the lethal poison would always kill or not (there have been 8 cases in Oregon where it didn't kill the person).

This entire clause is about providing the patient with as much information as possible about all the matters contained within it. One of them is to advise the patient that if they take the substance, the very likely outcome is that they will pass away. I suppose there is a need to inform the patient that they are going to die, but there is a very slim chance that the substance may not work in whatever circumstance it might be. It is just to be totally clear with the patient that, if they take the substance, they will pass away.

Which is it Premier?: "very likely they will pass away"; "very slim chance it may not work" or "they will pass away"???

The Minister for Health, Roger Cook, confirmed that the two assessing doctors can refer to the same third party and adopt the view of that person on the decision making capacity of the person; on whether the person is being coerced or not; and on the diagnosis and prognosis of a terminal illness.

The Attorney General, John Quigley, abandoning his previous view that there was an equivalence between ending one’s life by taking a lethal poison under the Bill and swallowing a poison from the garden shed – except the former involves more paperwork to put forward the medically and biologically false assertion that despite taking a lethal poison prescribed under the Bill death is CAUSED by the underlying condition

I would like to correct you that they are accessing a substance that is going to kill them. This is not right. What is going to kill them is the disease that they have ... it has to be a terminal disease that on the balance of probabilities is going to kill them within six months. Therefore, they are not accessing a substance to kill them; they are being killed by a growth within their body.

Debate on the Bill reached clause 50 out of 184 clauses and resumes on Tuesday 17 September.

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