Clem Jones Group chairman David Muir at the Bundaberg parliamentary hearing.
Clem Jones Group chairman David Muir at the Bundaberg parliamentary hearing. Mike Knott BUN160719DWD1

Party politics has to stay out of humanitarian issue

CLEM Jones Group has urged Queensland politicians to legislate euthanasia without the obstruction of party politics.

On Tuesday the group's chairman David Muir attended a parliamentary hearing in Bundaberg about end-of-life care as an observer, which is part of a state-wide inquiry.

The committee's findings will be tabled in Parliament in November and Mr Muir hoped it would recommend legislating euthanasia.

Mr Muir said the legislation needed to be voted on and passed next year rather than becoming an election campaign issue.

"We understand that both sides of politics in Queensland will allow a conscience vote.

"Each of the parliamentarians in our state are lawmakers, and those 93 parliamentarians we hope will be allowed to make a free conscience decision.”

Mr Muir said it was a humanitarian issue that the group had concentrated on through the South Australian and Victorian parliaments because they had previous history of discussing euthanasia.

The Queensland Parliament had never discussed it, Mr Muir said.

In June the Victorian Parliament legalised voluntary euthanasia but the Clem Jones Group felt that it was a too restrictive in certain aspects.

"They require doctors to say you only have six months to live to be eligible,” Mr Muir said.

"We think that's too arbitrary and too difficult. We think no time limit should be there other than terminal illness and insufferable pain, so we don't think doctors should be asked to predict if you've got six months to live or 12 months to live.

"It's about intolerable suffering and one of the big things we're concerned about is these laws brought in.

"There's a matter of urgency in Queensland because we know evidence from Victoria parliament that each week people are taking their own lives in horrible lonely circumstances out of pure desperation because they don't have access to voluntary euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying out of sheer frustration.”



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