Creevey Russell wills and estate lawyer Rachel Greenslade has highlighted increasing pressure her state government is facing to follow Victoria in passing laws to legalise euthanasia. This comes after Victoria passed the Assisted Dying Bill late last year.
Ms Greenslade noted that while Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said the issue will not be considered in her state this year, she has left the door open to possible euthanasia reform in years to come.
“There is some strong support for euthanasia laws in Queensland including a push by the estate of former Brisbane Lord Mayor Clem Jones,” Ms Greenslade said.
“This is a very emotive issue, and until you have experienced watching a loved one deal with a terrible terminal illness it is difficult to relate to this and know how you might feel.”
Ms Greenslade explained that “following an 18-month implementation period in Victoria, 2019 will mark the first time in Australia those suffering from terminal illnesses causing intolerable pain will have the right to choose to die with assistance”.
“Quite rightfully, assisted dying comes with strict eligibility requirements,” she added.
“To be eligible you must be over 18, suffer from an incurable illness and not be expected to live more than six months, be deemed capable of making decisions by two doctors and reside in Victoria for at least 12 months prior to applying for assisted dying.
“Patients who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to obtain a lethal drug from their doctor within 10 days of asking to die and after undergoing two independent medical assessments. The patient will also be responsible for administering the drug themselves but a doctor may assist in very rare situations where the patient is physically unable.”
Ms Greenslade also responded to concerns over the legalisation of euthanasia, particularly within the elderly community.
“Although there is concern the new laws will make elderly patients more vulnerable to abuse and coercion, the legislation has a variety of safeguards including robust witnessing requirements and the creation of new criminal offences,” she said.