Second Reading

HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [2.15 pm]: I had completed most of my contribution to the second reading debate on the Coroners Amendment Bill 2017 the last time we debated it, but I want to reiterate a particular concern the Greens have with the timing of the passage of this bill and other outstanding recommendations for reform in this space. To reiterate, the Greens support this legislation. I was speaking about the concern that we might inadvertently end up with a gap in the legislation because recommendations 17 and 18 of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia’s report have not been addressed. It is from that report that these proposed amendments to the legislation arose in the first place. I expressed the concern that as a result of the amendments we are debating today, if a death occurs from natural causes after the deceased received or sought health care and the death was not the reasonably expected outcome or the person might not have died had they received the health care that could reasonably have been expected to be provided, the coroner could choose to discontinue the investigation. As I expressed previously, I believe this was not envisaged or recommended by the Law Reform Commission. In the Greens’ view it is in the public interest that the coroner thoroughly investigates healthcare-related deaths, even when they arise from natural causes, and we in fact consider it to be essential for the proper oversight of our healthcare services. I will also note recommendations 1 and 2 of the review into section 57. Recommendation 1 states —

It is recommended that consideration be given to rewriting the Coroners Act 1996.

Recommendation 2 states —

It is recommended that consideration be given to restructuring the Coroners Act 1996 to be better aligned to the coronial processes.

I want to know whether there is any intention at this stage to rewrite the Coroners Act, as was originally envisaged to be required as part of wholesale reform within this space.

Finally, I just want to say that the Greens of course support removing unnecessary delay in the dealings of the Coroner’s Court for all the reasons I previously articulated. This is unquestionably an area in which we want to ensure that things run smoothly as possible. Hopefully, this piece of legislation will assist the coroner to be able to do that. We are concerned to ensure that there are not any unforeseen consequences as a result of not taking the holistic approach to the reform recommended by the Law Reform Commission. We need to see broader reform in this space, so I hope that the minister is in a position to advise the house whether we are going to see additional reforms within, hopefully, this term of government. With those few words, the Greens indicate that we will support the legislation.

[Speeches and comments from various members]

Question put and passed. Bill read a second time.


The Chair of Committees (Hon Simon O’Brien) in the chair; Hon Sue Ellery (Leader of the House) in charge of the bill.

Clause 1: Short title —

[Speeches and comments from various members]

Committee interrupted, pursuant to standing orders.

[Continued on page 5936.]


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