Qld premier coy on euthanasia amendments

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the public will be told about any changes to a voluntary-assisted dying bill when she is ready to tell them.

There is growing speculation the landmark bill could be diluted by the Labor caucus at the 11th hour amid a sustained campaign by religious objectors.

Under the proposed laws, faith-based care providers would not be obligated to administer euthanasia drugs to patients.

However, they would be required to let independent doctors into their facilities to help people end their lives if they are unable to move to other facilities.

Providers affiliated with the Catholic Church, such as St Vincent’s Health and Mater Health, say their staff should not have to witness premature deaths.

They are also worried independent doctors would not have to forewarn them of their intention to enter their premises to end the lives of patients.

Ms Palaszczuk said Labor caucus will approve the bill for debate later on Monday afternoon, but she refused to reveal whether or not the bill would be amended.

“I’ve got a caucus meeting this afternoon,” the premier told reporters on Monday.

“Well, you might not hear about it this afternoon but you’ll hear about it when I’m ready to tell you about it.”

The major parties have granted their MPs conscience votes when the bill goes before parliament later this month.

Under the proposed laws, people applying for voluntary assisted dying must have either a disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and terminal.

Their condition must be expected to cause their death within a year and it must be causing “intolerable” suffering.

People must also be assessed by two doctors, having made three separate requests for help to die.

The VAD bill needs a majority of 47 votes in Queensland’s 93-seat lower house to pass into law. There is no upper house in Queensland.

The premier, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman have publicly expressed support for the bill in its current form.

Another 39 MPs support the bill, including three LNP, two Greens MPs and independent Sandy Bolton.

However, 13 LNP MPs including Deputy Opposition Leader David Janetzki and three Katter’s Australian Party MPs will oppose the bill.

Another 22 MPs, including Opposition Leader David Crisafulli and Treasurer Cameron Dick, are yet to publicly reveal their stance.


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