Euthanasia Bill Passes Western Australia Lower House

September 25, 2019 Updated: September 25, 2019

Euthanasia laws have passed Western Australia’s lower house, with the bill now likely to face a tougher passage through parliament’s upper house.

The bill passed 45 to 11 in the Legislative Assembly late Sept. 24 after more than 70 hours of debate, including an all-night sitting, prompting applause from MPs.

Attempts to amend the bill to include further safeguards were voted down.

Of the 11 who voted against the bill, eight were Liberals including opposition leader Liza Harvey, two were from Labor and one was a Nationals member.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts and Kimberley MP Josie Farrer were absent for the vote.

Premier Mark McGowan described the vote as a historic day.

“This is very important legislation designed to assist those people who are terminally ill and in great pain and ensure they can make their own choices about their future,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“These laws would allow for people to avoid an agonising death if they so choose.”

Under the proposed laws, terminally ill adults living in WA who are in pain and likely have less than six months to live—or one year if they have a neurodegenerative condition—could take a drug to end their lives or ask a doctor to do it.

The legislation includes 102 safeguards including soundness of mind, no coercion and a minimum of two independent medical assessments

Advocacy group Go Gentle Australia described the vote as “a remarkable achievement.”

“A testament to the hard work, community consultation, and expertise that went into the bill’s drafting,” the group said in a statement.

But it cautioned that the new laws still faced an uncertain future in the upper house where it suggested just one or two votes would likely determine its success or failure.

Victoria is currently the only state where euthanasia is legal.

If you are struggling and have suicidal thoughts, please contact any one of the following organisations:

  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also chat online with the Lifeline support service every day from 7:00 PM until 4:00 AM (AEDST).
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636 – This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also chat online with the beyondblue support service every day from 3:00 PM until 12:00 AM (AEDST).
  • Samaritans – 135 247 – Based in WA
  • SuicideLine – 1300 651 251 – Based in Victoria
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 – The Suicide Call Back Service provides immediate support to anyone feeling suicidal. In addition, they can provide ongoing support through up to six 50-minute telephone counselling sessions that will provide you with longer term support. The Suicide Call Back Service also offers online counselling.