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The Exit Internationalist

November 18, 2018

WA government to consider Victorian laws when forming right-to-die legislation

WA government to consider Victorian laws when forming right-to-die legislation, AAP

The West Australian government says it will take a close look at Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying laws in forming its right-to-die legislation.

The McGowan government plans to introduce the bill, drafted by an 11-member expert panel chaired by former WA governor Malcolm McCusker, next year.

It follows a parliamentary committee that received about 700 submissions and held 81 public hearings.

Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook indicated Victoria’s laws, which passed in an Australian first in November last year, would be closely looked at.

“We’re keeping a very open mind,” Mr Cook told reporters on Tuesday.

“I’m going to examine the safeguards,” Dr Nahan told reporters.

“The committee report was wide ranging, they’ve got an excellent person looking at the legislation - we’re treating it objectively.”

While the Greens appeared to support it, Dr Nahan said he “wouldn’t even hazard a guess about the crossbenchers or let alone my own colleagues”.

“There will be people who are against it for a variety of reasons, religious and other reasons, and I come from that direction.

“But nonetheless as someone whose been through the painful death of loved ones, I understand the issues.

“I won’t be an advocate.”

Philip Nitschke, founder of pro-euthanasia group Exit International, said WA should not restrict the laws to those terminally ill or in extreme suffering, or impose arduous requirements to demonstrate eligibility.

Dr Nitschke favours the model in Switzerland, where he travelled in July to support Perth academic David Goodall, who did not have a terminal illness but ended his life at age 104, saying he wasn’t enjoying it anymore.

Go Gentle Australia founder Andrew Denton commended the WA government for its action so far, saying it was crucial safeguards were built into the system.

WA Liberal MP Nick Goiran provided the committee’s only dissenting minority report, saying “assisted suicide” was a “recipe for elder abuse”.

Other opponents include the Australian Medical Association and Australian Christian Lobby.