Queensland is the fifth Australian state to legalise euthanasia, with a clear majority of members of Parliament voting 61-30 yesterday to pass the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. Source: The Catholic Leader.
A final vote followed several days of emotional debate inside the Queensland parliament. MPs fought back tears as they told personal stories and revealed the difficulty of weighing up opposing views on euthanasia and assisted dying.
Several key political allies of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk voted against the bill, even though it was a policy centrepiece for Labor during a state election campaign last year.
Labor’s Joe Kelly, a nurse representing the Brisbane seat of Greenslopes, voted against euthanasia. He told Parliament that in his professional view good palliative care could provide a dignified death.
Another Labor member to reject the bill, Linus Power, representing Logan, said he was disappointed that more than 100 amendment clauses were defeated.
One of the key amendments sought was a so-called “institutional conscientious objection” that would have allowed faith-based hospitals and aged care facilities the right to exclude euthanasia from taking place in their facilities.
Catholic Health Australia chair John Watkins said Catholic health and aged care providers are “deeply disappointed by a law which so clearly conflicts with their ethic of care”.
“We have made it clear all along to the Government that we will not allow voluntary assisted dying in our hospitals or aged care facilities, yet the Parliament has passed a law that forces us to do so. It places us in an invidious and extraordinary position.”
He said the Catholic sector would work with the Queensland Government in coming months “on a system that reconciles our beliefs with its laws”.
Voluntary assisted dying laws pass in Queensland (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)
Queensland VAD Media Statement (Catholic Health Australia)
Historic vote passes Queensland euthanasia law (The Australian)