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QLD defers VAD decision

The heartbreaking postponement means voters must send Queensland politicians a message on VAD at the next election.

Go Gentle Australia's CEO Kiki Paul says the Queensland government’s decision to postpone debate on voluntary assisted dying laws is heartbreaking and a blow to the many people who have worked so hard to see a Bill introduced during the life of the current parliament.

"The Premier’s referral of the issue to the Law Reform Commission means the next report will not eventuate until March 2021. That’s at least another year before we will see a debate in Parliament, with a similar period before any resulting law can be implemented.

"That the government feels it is necessary to refer the issue to yet another committee is surprising. A year-long parliamentary inquiry process has already recommended Queensland follow Victoria and Western Australia and introduce a safe and compassionate voluntary assisted dying law.

"While it is possible to postpone law reform, it is not possible to postpone the suffering of dying Queenslanders.

"The parliamentary committee heard testimony from thousands of Queenslanders detailing the needless suffering of a small, but significant, proportion of people at the end of life.

"Coronial data revealed that, in the absence of legal assisted dying provisions, one terminally or chronically ill Queenslander takes their own life every four days. 

"While today’s decision is a disappointment, there is still hope. With a state election due in October, the issue is now squarely back in the hands of the Queensland people.

"We must now ensure that the make-up of the next Queensland parliament reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders.  

"Every Queenslander who cares about preventing needless suffering at the end of life must canvass their local candidates’ views on VAD – and vote accordingly." 

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