WA News Letters End-of-life choices
End-of-life choices
Written by Mr Robin Chapple
Thursday, 27 April 2017

Re: End Palliative Care Nightmares, (April), first and foremost I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Clive Deverall, who was a champion in this area.

I too, have been fighting to allow patients suffering terminal illness the freedom of choice over end-of-life decisions since I was first elected to the Western Australian Parliament in 2001. This has been a very passionate area of interest for me since I watched my mother helplessly and hopelessly go through a traumatic and unpleasant end to her life.

Although unsuccessful, Dr Lancee’s decision to stand at the state election represents just how far this movement has come – 8% of the vote on a single issue is massive by anyone’s measure. But it was more than that – her actions have widened the debate, particularly around some of the unintended consequences of the status quo.

During the passage of my Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2009, rejected by the former Liberal National government and much of the newly elected Labor government, Premier Colin Barnett identified that one of his own family members had died in a manner similar to the admissions of Dr Lancee.

At the time, the Premier said this situation “demonstrated that there was no need for any law which might make this legal”.

This is not a new or controversial practice and I applaud Dr Lancee for having the courage to come forward, speak about it publicly and challenge lawmakers. In direct contrast to Mr Barnett’s comments, I would say this demonstrates exactly why there is a need for legislative change not only to protect doctors but to give terminally ill people the legal right to choose the manner in which they die.

Mr Robin Chapple, MLC, Mining and Pastoral Region