Majority in favour of euthanasia, inquiry hears
AN overwhelming majority of respondents to a State Government inquiry examining law reform for voluntary assisted dying want the government to legalise euthanasia.
A landmark parliamentary inquiry, considering whether Queenslanders should be allowed the right to die at a time of their choosing, has been held in Cairns this morning.
Health Committee chairman and Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper told reporters the inquiry had received about 5500 written submissions, ranging from medical specialists through to everyday Far North Queenslanders.
"A lot of people, we've found, of those submissions - they are heavily weighted for pro," he said.
The committee will report its findings, based on written and oral submissions to the inquiry, to Queensland Parliament by November 30.
Mr Harper, who is a former paramedic, declined to share his own opinion of end-of-life care, saying it was his role as chairman of the committee to provide a balanced viewpoint of the issue.
"Clearly, in 28 years with Ambulance, I've seen many people suffer at end-of-life, but I'll withhold my personal views until our report is done," he said.
Clem Jones Group chairman David Muir told reporters that Queenslanders clearly wanted reform for end-of-life care, to enable choice to die without unnecessary suffering.
"Palliative care can help most people, most of the time, but palliative care experts here around the world, say there is a small number of people it can't help," he said.
"If we can't turn away the suffering of those people, that's what this is all about.
"This is a chance to give a voice to the average Queenslander to speak before the palliative inquiry to tell their stories, to agitate for law reform, and hopefully in November, when this committee reports back to Parliament, it recommends reform."