State Government announces Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019

Bunbury MLA Don Punch has thrown his support behind the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019.
Bunbury MLA Don Punch has thrown his support behind the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019.

The South-West community has launched into a discussion over the topic of voluntary assisted dying.

Last week, the State Government announced it would introduce legislation into parliament to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia.

According to the government, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 will allow eligible people at their end of their lives to make their own choices.

The bill will include a range of mandatory protections, approvals, and reviews for these decisions.

It will also have 102 safeguards to assess each person's eligibility conditions.

Each patient will need to be over 18, be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and have been a resident in WA for at least one year.

They will need to have a disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive, and, on the balance of probabilities, cause death within six months, or 12 months if it is a neurodegenerative condition.

The request and assessment process requires three requests by the patient - two verbal with a written declaration in-between - witnessed by two independent people.

A Voluntary Assisted Dying Board will also be established to ensure proper adherence to the law.

The Mailcontacted South-West representatives who will be voting on the bill to see who supported voluntary assisted dying in WA.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch confirmed each aspect of the legislation had been carefully considered.

"I am very comfortable with the legislation, and I am always happy to talk to people within the electorate about their views," he said.

"I know that, for some people, the eligibility criteria will be too restrictive, while, for others, it won't be restrictive enough.

"At the end of the day, I believe the government and the implementation task force have found an appropriate balance.

"I will be interested to see how the debate unfolds, in a respectful way."

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray, South-West MLC Dr Sally Talbot, Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman, Vasse MLA Libby Mettam and South West MLC Colin Holt have thrown their support behind the bill.

South-West MLC Adele Farina and Colin Tincknell are still considering it.

South-West MLC Steve Thomas will not be supporting the bill.