Supplementary Order Paper No 308

No 308

House of Representatives

Supplementary Order Paper

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

End of Life Choice Bill

Proposed amendment

Hon Maggie Barry, in Committee, to move the following amendment:

Clause 8

In clause 8, after subclause (1) (page 6, after line 3), insert:

(1A)

The person referred to in subsection (1) must also, on a second occasion not less than 1 week after meeting the requirement of subsection (1), again inform the attending medical practitioner of such wish.

Explanatory note

This Supplementary Order Paper amends clause 8 of the End of Life Choice Bill to provide for a second expression of the person’s wish for assisted dying. This represents a modest “cooling off” period, recognising that a period of a week may see a material change in a person’s physical, mental, and emotional state, such that they do not wish to receive assisted dying as they would have when expressing their wish initially.

It is important that the law reflect the medical reality regarding the common phenomenon of depression resulting, often merely temporarily, from a diagnosis of terminal illness.

Without the law requiring that a person’s wish be re-expressed a week after initially having been expressed, they may make an irrevocable decision at a time that they are temporarily depressed specifically as a result of not having come to terms with a diagnosis, whether accurate or not, of terminal illness.