Thursday, 11 May 2017
Dr CARLING-JENKINS (Western Metropolitan) — My question is also for Minister Mikakos, but in her capacity as representing the Minister for Health. It relates to the expert ministerial advisory panel established by Minister Hennessy to advise on a legislative framework for voluntary assisted dying. Minister, a number of people have raised concerns with me that the panel has crossed the line into activism rather than sticking to the guidelines given to them. A number of people and organisations have made submissions to the panel, and they are concerned that their viewpoints will not be adequately represented due to the panel's perceived bias. There are a number of others, particularly people in the disability community, where opposition is such that they wanted to express their opinion that no such attempts to make suicide safe would be satisfactory, who were advised by panel members that if they put in submissions they would be excluded. To avoid the appearance of bias and in the name of transparency, at the time of publishing the final report will this panel be publishing submissions received as well as publishing the transcripts of meetings and interviews with interested parties?
Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Families and Children) — I thank Dr Carling-Jenkins for her question. These are obviously very sensitive matters that I know members on both sides of the house may have very strong views about one way or the other. I know that the Minister for Health has embarked upon a very considered process in relation to this very sensitive subject matter, and she has put in place a ministerial advisory panel with a broad range of expertise in relation to these issues to assist her by providing advice. I am sure that members will have made available to them at some point in time when we further consider these issues as a Parliament a broad range of views from a range of stakeholders. Obviously people with disabilities will have a very important role to play in expressing their views around these particular matters.
In terms of the specifics that the member has raised around process, I will need to seek some advice from the Minister for Health because it does relate to her panel and the process that has been embarked upon. I will be very happy to provide the member with a written response in relation to these issues around process.
Dr CARLING-JENKINS (Western Metropolitan) — Thank you, Minister. I look forward to receiving that advice on process. My supplementary question is simply: given that the interim report from the panel is now overdue, will the panel be extending their final report publishing date, which is currently scheduled for July?
Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Families and Children) — I thank the member again for her supplementary question. I will ensure that the supplementary question is also addressed in the written response.