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By-election candidates polled on voluntary assisted dying laws

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Euthanasia advocates are concerned the Liberal National Party candidate will not say whether he would support VAD laws if elected.

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The My Life My Choice coalition questioned all candidates in the Stretton by-election about their stance on the VAD laws soon to go before the Queensland parliament.

Labor candidate James Martin, the front-runner, was supportive of VAD, as was Greens candidate Andrea Wilden, while Animal Justice Party candidate Suzanne Clarke gave her in-principle support.

But LNP candidate Jim Bellos did not respond to the survey, nor did Informed Medical Options candidate Jazzy Melhop, who opposes any government pressure in healthcare.

Bellos is a police officer and former Queenslander of the Year but could be forgiven for keeping a low profile. During the by-election campaign, he has had to apologise to Pegg’s family for featuring his image in LNP posts, and for previous social media posts about female journalists.

David Muir, chair of the Clem Jones Trust, noted Bellos’ refusal to engage came ahead of the LNP state conference considering whether to block the party’s planned conscience vote on VAD.

The by-election, sparked by the death of Labor incumbent Duncan Pegg, is on Saturday, when the conference will also be held.

“There could not be a more compelling issue for a conscience vote than an issue dealing with the timing and manner of a terminally ill individual’s death,” Muir said.

“Surely a resolution that directly contradicts LNP leader David Crisafulli’s decision to grant a conscience vote should be ruled out of order.

“At the very least it must be soundly defeated in order to ensure confidence in the parliamentary leadership of the LNP and the credibility of the LNP as an alternative government.”

A parliamentary committee is considering the VAD laws promised by the Labor government of Annastacia Palaszczuk.

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