Supplementary Order Paper No 372

No 372

House of Representatives

Supplementary Order Paper

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

End of Life Choice Bill

Proposed amendment to SOP No 259

Agnes Loheni, in Committee, to move the following amendment:

Clause 24A

In clause 24A(3), after “No particular form of” (page 21), insert “gesture or”.

In clause 24A(3), replace “orally or in writing” (page 21) with “orally, in writing, or by gesture”.

Explanatory note

This Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) amends SOP No 259 amending the End of Life Choice Bill by providing that no particular form of gesture is needed to rescind a request to receive euthanasia or assisted suicide.

SOP No 259 is seemingly intended to assure that no particular form of words is needed for a person to rescind a request to receive assisted dying. (Incidentally, it is only “seemingly” the case because of an inconsistency between clause 24A(3), which allows any form of written rescindment, and clause 24A(2), which precludes rescindment by advanced directive, etc.)

The key point regarding this SOP, however, is that it recognises that—because clause 24A(2) enables rescindment by “gesture”—there should be no particular type of gesture required. The equivalent assurance is provided in relation to words that rescind a request, after all.

On a related note, it is a significant defect that no guidance is provided in a situation where it is unclear whether or not a person is rescinding a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide. Inevitably this situation will arise at the bedside of a person who is nominally marked to die in accordance with the proposed legislation.