Dying With Dignity Fraser Coast co-ordinator, Phil Browne.
Dying With Dignity Fraser Coast co-ordinator, Phil Browne.

‘I’ve had people begging me to help them die’

PHIL Browne has had patients beg him to help them die.

He has attended horrific scenes where terminally ill people took their own lives in brutal ways.

He has heard and witnessed harrowing stories of dying people, whose suffering palliative care simply cannot alleviate.

The former registered nurse and paramedic turned Dying With Dignity Fraser Coast co-ordinator says a change to euthanasia laws is overdue in Queensland.

"The government has been lagging behind the community on this issue, that's why 5000 people sent in submissions to the Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry," Mr Browne said

"The majority of those were saying it's time."

A Queensland Parliament Inquiry in March handed down its findings, recommended passing voluntary assisted dying laws, first introduced in 2018.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last month asked the Queensland Law Reform Commission to draft legislation for the government to consider after this year's election.

The Commission will report back by March 2021.

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Mr Browne said the Commission would look at the details of how the laws will be passed.

"They're not looking at whether Queensland should legalise, their inquiry is looking at how it should be legalised, what should be included and excluded," he said.

Mr Browne, who has been an advocate for euthanasia law changes for years, said the progress is recent months was welcome but said there were still no guarantees.

"No one can guarantee anything, particularly if there's a change of government," he said.

"If a government is representing the will of the people, this will be done as a priority.

"This progress is very welcome but it's got to be done carefully and appropriately, particularly the drafting of a bill.

"That's what we will be achieving from this new inquiry.

"I look forward to the day when we can be in the public gallery at Parliament House and see this be a done deal."

Mr Browne said Queensland legislators had the benefit of Victoria and Western Australia already having passed voluntary assisted dying laws.

"They've had all the findings and the evidence from those two parliamentary inquiries that have very similar characteristics to Queensland," he said.

If this story has raised issues for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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