In a legal analysis of Queensland's Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 presented to the Australian Care Alliance, Paul Santamaria QC concluded that if enacted it would manifestly fail to protect vulnerable Queenslanders from being led into a death "not by a genuine exercise of personal autonomy, but rather because they feel pressured to agree – or, worse, are actually unaware of the nature of the process being undertaken 'for' them".
In the Bill as designed, the risk scenarios of patients who do not possess sufficient decision-making capacity or who are not acting voluntarily are manifest.
Nothing in this Bill ought encourage diligent parliamentarians to believe that prosecution for unlawful conduct which has caused the death of vulnerable Queenslanders is other than the stuff of dreams.
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.
According to the Second Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying proudly presented by the Hon Patty Hajdu, Canadian Minister for Health among the 7,595 Canadians whose lives were ended in 2020 by the lethal injection of a deadly poison by a medical or nurse practitioner there were:
- 4,120 Canadians euthanased because they had cancer but with no discussion with an oncologist about this course of action;
- 2,650 people who perceived they were a burden on their family, friends or caregivers;
- 1,373 people who requested that their lives be ended because they felt isolated and lonely;
- 1,253 with non-terminal conditions
- 227 people who were put to death because they were frail;
- 322 people who needed disability support services but did not receive them;
- 126 people who needed, but could not access, palliative care were given access to the lethal jab;
- 59 people who the practitioner assessed as requesting a lethal injection "voluntarily" determined the alleged voluntariness without directly consulting with the person
On 7 June 2021, a Health Canada official informed the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying of the Parliament of Canada, that there had been 7,595 reported cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2020.
This represents an increase of 35% from 2019 to 2020.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide accounted for 2.45% of all deaths in Canada in 2020.
In 2017 there 694 cases of suicide in Victoria. In 2020 there were 842. This is an increase of 21.2%
What has led to this startling increase?
From 19 June 2019 Victorians wishing to commit suicide could arrange to have a lethal dose of pentobarbital delivered to them by the Statewide Pharmacy Service based at the Alfred Hospital. All they needed was a VADSAP - a suicide permit - issued by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The State of Victoria in Australia legalised both assistance to suicide by prescribing a lethal poison and euthanasia by lethal injection from 19 June 2019.
The third six monthly official report on this deadly practice, released on 3 March 2021, shows a rapid rise in the incident of euthanasia from 11 deaths by lethal injection in the six months January to June 2020 to 20 such deaths in the following six months July to December 2020 - an 81.8% increase or nearly double.