Public helps draft Euthanasia Bill

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Albany woman, Grytsje Doust shared memories of her mother who chose an assisted dying method after she was diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
Camera IconAlbany woman, Grytsje Doust shared memories of her mother who chose an assisted dying method after she was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

More than 100 people from Albany took part in the voluntary assisted dying Bill consultation which has helped shape official recommendations.

An expert panel chaired by former WA governor Malcolm McCusker conducted a series of public consultations Statewide to help with the drafting of assisted dying Bill legislation.

The 13 members interviewed more than 1200 people from across WA, including 116 Albany residents.

Albany Community Hospice, Clarence Estate Residential and Home Care, Pioneer Health Albany, and Albany Hospital were some of the groups involved in the information sessions.

Albany woman Grytsje Doust, who shared her experience with her mother’s voluntary assisted suicide with the Albany Advertiser in April, said she was pleased with the way the Government had undertaken the process.

The expert panel’s report recommends that a person over the age of 18 and ordinarily living in WA be eligible for voluntary assisted dying if death is reasonably foreseeable within 12 months. Under the plan, a person must have decision-making capacities and make three requests, including one in writing witnessed by two people who will not benefit financially from their death.

“Shaping the legislation around this issue is difficult but it's a big step forward and they've recognised that it is what a large part of the community wants,” Mrs Doust said.

Mrs Doust provided testimony about her experiences in April last year as part of a wide-ranging WA parliamentary inquiry established to explore end-of-life choices.

Under the expert panel’s recommendations, people with dementia would be prevented from accessing voluntary assisted dying.

Two doctors would be required to assess each person and be independently satisfied they met the criteria.

Premier Mark McGowan said he respected and appreciated the work of the expert panel but its recommendations were not binding.

The Government’s draft legislation could have some differences.

“You'll see if there's any nuancing of the report. The report is persuasive but not binding,” Mr McGowan said.

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