On Thursday the 5th of December, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 has passed the Western Australian Upper House in its third and final reading. Because amendments were made to the Bill, it isn’t law yet. The amendments need to be approved in the Lower House. This is scheduled on December the 10th.
Third reading – the 5th of December
The third reading stage gave each Member of the Upper House the opportunity to stand and speak on the Bill one more time before it went to its final vote. Each member had a capped 45 minutes to talk, apart from the Minister and the lead speaker for the Opposition (they always have unlimited time). The final vote was 24 to 11. Compared with the final vote in Victoria two years ago, this margin is much bigger. (Victorias margin was 4 votes, compared to 13 now in Western Australia.)
Earlier, a debate was held in the Upper House on the detail of the VAD Bill. After almost 102 hours of debate, more than 50 amendments were made. However, most were changes to grammar and none will affect access to or operation of the Bill.
Next and final step – the 10th of December
The amendments will now need to be approved in the Lower House. The government has recalled members of the Legislative Assembly for a special sitting on Tuesday 10 December. Then the final vote is expected to take place. Once the Bill reaches the Lower House, MPs can only debate the amendments (not the whole Bill). There is still potential for opponents in the Lower House to drag things out, but the expectation is that the amendments will be accepted.