December 6, 2019
WA assisted dying laws pass through upper house
The West Australian government is set to end the year with legislative victory after its euthanasia laws passed the upper house.
Legislative Council MPs on Thursday voted 24-11 in favour of the bill, bringing to an end several months of heated and emotional debate.
The upper house made more than 50 amendments during marathon debate of 184 clauses.
Those amendments will now need to be signed off in the lower house, which will be recalled for a special sitting next Tuesday.
That is considered to be a formality given the Labor government’s control of the Legislative Assembly, paving the way for WA to become the second Australian state after Victoria to legalise voluntary assisted dying.
It is a significant win for Mark McGowan’s Labor government after the Premier vowed to have the legislation passed by Christmas, a timeline that was supported by Opposition Leader Liza Harvey .
The government’s leader in the upper house Sue Ellery said it was a proud moment for her and other advocates of the bill.
“You don’t get many moments in a political career where something so abundantly right is actually possible to achieve,” she told reporters.
“Real change is possible. You have to be persistent and you have to have the strength of your conviction to see it through.”
Under the proposed laws, adults who are in pain and have less than six months to live – or one year if they have a neurodegenerative condition – will be able to take a drug to end their lives if approved by two medical practitioners.
Doctors and nurses would be the only healthcare workers allowed to raise voluntary assisted dying with patients.
The scheme is expected to come into force in about 18 months’ time.