By Limbi Banda
The state of Queensland, Australia, is currently considering a bill which would legalize euthanasia also known as “voluntary assisted suicide.” While still in its early stages, the euthanasia bill is subject to inquiry which was said to begin this year amid claims from pro-euthanasia groups the bill would have immense support.
While still in its early stages, review of the euthanasia bill is said to begin this year following claims from pro-euthanasia groups it would receive immense support. Unfortunately, this move would follow the example set by Victoria, another Australian state, which made euthanasia legal last November. In light of these developments, pro-euthanasia groups are now urging Queensland’s inquiry be sped up, while the Queensland government is prioritizing abortion reform ahead of the euthanasia bill.
The Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, stated she would look into reforming euthanasia laws and use the changes made in Victoria as an example. However, euthanasia is not on her government’s official agenda; instead, there is a proposed reform to Queensland’s abortion laws, reforms which some view as an obstacle to the push for euthanasia. Palaszczuk told Parliament, “[Euthanasia] is something Queenslanders do want to have a conversation about, but in the meantime can I emphasise that our priority in this term is abortion law reform.”
Pro-euthanasia Members of Parliament, like Aaron Harper of the Labor Party, are optimistic euthanasia will soon be on the agenda, while anti-euthanasia Australians like Julie Borger, a spokesperson for Cherish Life, warn the proposed euthanasia bill could be “too dangerous.”
Ms. Borger told reporters, "I don't think anyone can make judgement about the Victorian laws because they haven't been enacted. And in those countries where they have been enacted there may have been good safeguards at the time but that slippery slope does come into play. "The Brisbane Times reports, “Proposed euthanasia laws were considered by NSW in 2017 and South Australia in 2016 but both failed, while the Northern Territory passed laws in 1996 that were later voided by the federal government.”