Queenslanders’ dilemma over assisted dying

 

Queenslanders are overwhelmingly in favour of legalising voluntary assisted dying, but feel nervous about the idea of helping a loved one die.

A new survey shows 78 per cent of Queenslanders are behind a push to legislate voluntary euthanasia laws for the terminally ill.

But only 36 per cent of Queenslanders would help a loved one with a terminal illness end their life, according to a survey by personal finance app Humaniti.

The results come as the Queensland Law Reform Commission drafts legislation to be considered by the parliament after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made introducing laws a key election promise last year.

Legislation had been due to be introduced this week, but the government was forced to set the commission a new reporting date of May 10 after it complained the timeline was too rushed.

Labor and the LNP will allow their MPs a conscience vote, but the vast majority remain guarded about where they stand on the sweeping reforms.

Ms Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles have given their personal support, but Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has not publicly stated his position yet, instead waiting to read the draft legislation first.

 

Of the 221 Queenslanders polled in the national survey of 1191 people, just 5 per cent said it should not be legalised while 16 per cent said they were undecided.

A whopping 84 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed said if a person with an incurable disease wants to end their life, a doctor should be able to assist if it is within the law.

Nationally, 70 per cent said they would want the option if diagnosed with an incurable illness, with 12 per cent saying no and 18 per cent undecided.

Almost 10 per cent said euthanasia was unethical and 15 per cent were undecided.

A Victorian law to allow voluntary assisted dying under limited circumstances came into force in 2019, and Western Australian law will come into effect in March after a Bill was passed last year. Voluntary euthanasia is not legal in South Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT.

Despite the political differences, the survey found most Australians' feelings broadly in line across all states.

Seventy-two per cent said they would support a terminally ill loved one who wished to end their life.

Asked if they would be prepared to personally help end that loved one's life, more than 36 per cent said they would, 23 per cent said they would not and 41 per cent could not decide.

And 65 per cent were opposed to the prosecution of those who do help terminally ill family members die.

 

 

 

Originally published as Queenslanders' dilemma over assisted dying


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