Speak up on euthanasia before it’s too late – Newman
CAMPBELL Newman has expressed his regret at not acting to legalise voluntary euthanasia when he had the chance as Premier.
Reflecting on the harrowing experience of watching his mother Jocelyn, a former Howard government minister, succumb to dementia, Mr Newman has revealed his heartbreak at not being able to honour her wishes to die with dignity and at a time of her choosing.
In a heartfelt opinion piece penned for The Courier-Mail, Mr Newman writes that his mother "clearly, unequivocally, did not want to suffer in the way that she did and yet the system doomed her to years of misery".
"It wasn't dignified, it wasn't humane and it was against her wishes.
"As Premier of this State I could have put the issue on the table during our time in office but I didn't.
"I regret that."
His comments come as a historic parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life care considers voluntary-assisted dying laws for Queensland among other issues like palliative care.
So far more than 500 submissions have been received with between 80 to 100 coming in each day.
The committee is expected to begin public hearings later this month before reporting back to Parliament at the end of November.
Mr Newman also issued a plea to Queensland's current cohort of parliamentarians to listen carefully to what Queenslanders wanted "giving this matter consideration away from normal politics and party positions" before voting with their conscience rather than via a binding party vote when the issue eventually comes back to the House.
Clem Jones Trust chair David Muir welcomed Mr Newman's support.
Polling conducted for the Trust last year found almost 80 per cent of Queenslanders supported voluntary-assisted dying for the terminally ill and would like the option to be available to them.
"Law reform in Queensland is needed urgently on voluntary assisted dying," Mr Muir said.
"Victoria has passed new laws and Western Australia is right now developing voluntary assisted dying laws.
"Campbell Newman's support for reform highlights the fact that this issue crosses all party lines and must be decided on a conscience vote of the 93 MPs in the Queensland Parliament."
Mr Muir again called for the Government to ensure any legislation that resulted from the inquiry was voted on this term and not pushed out past the October 2020 Election.
"The inquiry is being conducted by a committee of the current Queensland Parliament and will report to the current Parliament, so its recommendations must be acted on by the current Parliament."