On August 6th a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill was tabled in the Lower House of West Australia. The bill includes 102 safeguards with measures to assess a person’s capacity as well as strict eligibility conditions.
The new bill is very similar although less restrictive than the Victorian model. Still, there are 102 safeguards. In order to access voluntary assisted dying in West Australia, a person would need:
– to be aged over 18
– to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
– to be a resident of the state for at least 12 months
– to have a disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and likely to cause death within six months, or 12 months if it is a neurodegenerative condition.
– to have a condition that causes suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable.
It is expected that the bill passes the Lower House without too much trouble. It will then reach the Upper House where most opposing forces are, but it is likely to gain majority vote. This vote is predicted to be in October sometime. In the meantime, amendments can be brought to table.
The bill’s introduction was announced on the same day voluntary assisted dying campaigner Belinda Teh arrived on the steps of WA Parliament following a 4500 km walk from Victoria in honour of her mother, who passed away ‘in agony’ in 2016.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan
WA Premier Mark McGowan will allow a conscience vote on the issue. He said the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is the culmination of a ‘comprehensive’ consultation process that represents practical policy and ensures the specific needs of the WA community are 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 … voluntary assisted dying is a significant issue for WA and every member of parliament deserves the right to speak and vote on the legislation.’