Voluntary Euthanasia

In June 2014 Federal Green's senator Richard Di Natale tabled an exposure draft for a national 'dying with dignity’ legislation in the Senate. The Senate then passed a motion to have that Bill considered by a Senate inquiry.

The Senate's Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs then recommended a conscience vote on Di Natale’s Dying with Dignity bill, something The Greena (WA) applauded.

If Di Natale’s Bill goes ahead and is passed by the Federal government then Robin’s state work for Euthanasia is done. However, this remains uncertain, so The Greens will continue to work for the cause.

Di Natale's Dying with Dignity exposure Draft is available here.

Robin gave notice on Thursday November 19 of 2009 that, at the next sitting of the house, he would move to introduce the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2010. This is a Bill for an Act to provide for the administration of voluntary euthanasia.

On Thursday 20th May 2010 Robin gave his Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2010 second reading speech. The speech is downloadable below:

The word euthanasia comes from the Greek eu and thanatos, which together mean "good death." I believe our community has reached the point where, in the majority, we believe a terminally ill person, who is in pain and suffering, should have the right to choose to have a “good death”.

The Bill will provide civil and criminal immunity to a medical practitioner who administers euthanasia to a terminally ill person provided the medical practitioner acts within the strict requirements of the Bill.

The Bill establishes an administrative structure that can only be enacted by mentally competent adults who live in Western Australia. It will allow such a person, who is terminally ill, and in pain and suffering, to make an application for the administration of euthanasia. That application must be assessed by two (2) independent medical practitioners, who will assess the application on the basis of strict and lengthy criteria which is set out in the legislation. If the criteria is passed, the terminally ill patient must then re-state his or her wish for a “good death” before euthanasia may be administered. Again, euthanasia may only be administered in accordance with the strict and lengthy requirements set out in the Bill.

In drafting this Bill, I have taken on board the major concerns of the individuals, groups, parliamentarians and professionals who have approached me on the issue. I have also ensured that the Bill is legally tight and that it provides the maximum protection for both patients, their doctors and staff.

I believe that this Bill addresses the community’s call for legislation that affords dignity, relief and comfort to people suffering from a terminal illness, as well as to their families or carers. It is my hope that the Bill will be debated by Parliament in the first half of next year.

The speech is also available here.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Bill was debated over a number of months culminating in a vote on Wednesday, 22 September 2010, in which the Bill was lost. Most of the Legislative Council members participated in the debate and final vote was by division and the supporters and opponents are listed below:

Ayes (11) :- Hon Robin Chapple (Greens), Hon Jon Ford (ALP), Hon Linda Savage (ALP), Hon Alison Xamon (Greens), Hon Sue Ellery (ALP), Hon Philip Gardiner (Nationals), Hon Sally Talbot (ALP), Hon Giz Watson (Greens), (Teller), Hon Adele Farina (ALP), Hon Lynn MacLaren (Greens) and Hon Ken Travers (ALP).

Noes (24) :- Hon Liz Behjat (Lib), Hon Ed Dermer (ALP), Hon Nick Goiran (Lib), Hon Norman Moore (Lib), Hon Matt Benson-Lidholm (ALP), Hon Kate Doust (ALP) , Hon Nigel Hallett (Lib), Hon Helen Morton (Lib) , Hon Helen Bullock (ALP), Hon Wendy Duncan (Nationals), Hon Alyssa Hayden (Lib), Hon Simon O’Brien (Lib), Hon Jim Chown (Lib) , Hon Phil Edman (Lib), Hon Col Holt (Nationals), Hon Ljiljanna Ravlich (ALP), Hon Peter Collier (Lib), Hon Brian Ellis (Lib), Hon Robyn McSweeney (Lib), Hon Max Trenorden (Nationals), Hon Mia Davies (Nationals), Hon Donna Faragher (Lib), Hon Michael Mischin (Lib) and Hon Ken Baston (Lib) (Teller).

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