QLD to see VAD bill by mid-2021
Queensland will see a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying by mid-year 2021, following Labor’s election win.
Labor has won at least 49 seats and could win as many as 51 in the 93-seat parliament – three more seats than the 2017 election.
The Premier, Anastacia Palaszczuk, made a promise to introduce Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation if her government was re-elected. She said all ALP Members would have a "conscience vote" and she would personally vote in favour of the law.
A Labor government would also boost funding to palliative care by $171 million, she said.
Labor’s newest MPs, Jimmy Sullivan, Jonty Bush, Ali King and Jason Hunt, have all voiced support for the VAD legislation.
The Greens’ two MPs and Independent Sandy Bolton have also said they would back a VAD bill.
Go Gentle Australia’s CEO Kiki Paul urged the government to follow through on its election commitments.
“There is now a community expectation that there will be a VAD bill in Queensland by March next year, at the latest,” she said.
Ms Paul urged the LNP, which is under new leadership, to recommit to a conscience vote on VAD.
“Support among Queenslanders for voluntary assisted dying sits at more than 80%, yet so far the LNP has continued to oppose the introduction of more compassionate end of life choices,” she said.
“The LNP went backwards at the election: a swing of almost 5% against it across the state, and the loss of seats to a Government seeking a third term.
“The LNP should now commit, at the very least, to giving its members a conscience vote on this issue, which clearly is very important to the Queensland electorate.”
Ms Paul said with VAD now legal in Victoria and Western Australia, strong support for VAD in New Zealand's referendum, a VAD bill before Tasmania's parliament and a bill proposed in South Australia, momentum for change is building.
"Australians living in states where VAD is not yet legal want the choice of voluntary assisted dying at the end of life. They are no longer asking their politicians to lead on this issue but to catch up."
* this story was updated in December 2020 to reflect the revised timetable for the VAD bill's expected tabling in parliament