Western Australians will have the opportunity to have their say on key issues being considered in the development of laws to enable voluntary assisted dying.
As part of a comprehensive consultation being conducted across the State, public sessions will take place in April and May in Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Broome before legislation is introduced to the State Parliament later this year.
This consultation is a vital step in developing legislation that meets the needs of Western Australians and ensures the introduction of appropriate safeguards for all involved.
A discussion paper released today by the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying outlines key issues for the proposed legislation. Members of the Ministerial Expert Panel, which includes expertise from clinical, legal, consumer, disability and culturally and linguistically diverse groups will lead discussion at the consultation sessions to hear community views.
People who cannot attend a consultation session can lodge written submissions for consideration by the panel. Feedback will help inform the expert panel’s final report to the McGowan Government.
The purpose of the voluntary assisted dying discussion paper and the public consultations is to assist the development of fully informed and workable legislation – not to review or debate the arguments for or against voluntary assisted dying.
In November 2018, the McGowan Government announced that it would introduce legislation into Parliament to enable voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia, following recommendations made by a Joint Select Committee aimed at strengthening and adapting the way the health system delivers end-of-life choices and palliative care.
The Government is also currently implementing the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations related to Advance Health Directives (AHD) and end-of-life and palliative care, with an expert panel on AHD appointed by the Attorney General.
The discussion paper and more information about the planned consultation sessions and upcoming legislation can be found at http://www.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying
As noted by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“There is consistent and widespread community support for voluntary assisted dying reform and the McGowan Government is committed to ensuring the highest quality end-of-life and palliative care for all Western Australians.
“This is an emotive and important issue and a discussion not only for health professionals – but for us all. I encourage all Western Australians to take part in these consultations in the next few months to ensure that the legislation is based on the available evidence and reflects the needs of all people in our diverse State.
“I am confident that the consultation being undertaken, along with the recommendations of the committee, will result in well informed and workable legislation, that includes strong safeguards for those people who wish to access voluntary assisted dying.”
Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying:
- Malcolm McCusker QC – Queen’s Counsel and former Governor of Western Australia.
- Dr Penny Flett, AO – Retired medical practitioner. Former CEO of Brightwater and former chairperson of the WA Aged Care Advisory Council.
- Dr Scott Blackwell – General practitioner with expertise in palliative care and aged care. Former president of the AMA. Life member RACGPs.
- Dr Roger Hunt – Senior consultant, Central Adelaide Palliative Care. Academic – widely published in the areas of ethics, law and palliative care.
- Associate Professor Kirsten Auret – Associate Professor of rural and remote medicine and deputy director, Rural Clinical School of WA. Palliative care specialist and Adjunct Professor Curtin University and Notre Dame University.
- Dr Elissa Campbell – President Palliative Care WA, consultant geriatrician and palliative care specialist.
- Dr Simon Towler – Clinical lead at South Metro Health Service Futures program. Staff Specialist Intensive Care, Fiona Stanley Hospital. Former Chief Medical Officer, Western Australia
- Kate George – Company director and senior lawyer specialising in human rights, international law and indigenous matters.
- Fiona Seaward – Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia and Senior Assistant State Counsel for the State Solicitor’s Office.
- Noreen Fynn – Consumer representative with 30 years of experience in Western Australia in the carer, disability, aged care and mental health sectors. Community and government organisations, State and Federal level.
- Samantha Jenkinson – Executive director of peopleWithdisabilities (pWd) WA and former acting CEO Australian Federation of Disability organisations, senior advocate and advisor to government in relation to disability.
- Maria Osman – Senior consultant and advisor for cultural and linguistically diverse communities, former executive director of the Office of Multicultural Interests.
- Professor Phillip Della – Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Curtin University, former Chief Nurse of Western Australia.