WA politicians have been accused of ignoring the views of voters, with the leaders of both major parties ruling out introducing voluntary euthanasia legislation despite a poll showing overwhelming community support.
Of the 891 respondents to a poll at thewest.com by last night, 75 per cent said they believed euthanasia should be legalised.
But some politicians warned against politicising what they said was a conscience issue, prompting criticism from pro-euthanasia groups as well as the Greens that they were not representing the views of their electorates.
On Tuesday, _The West Australian _published the story of Barbara Harrison, the Perth mother of two and euthanasia campaigner who took her life on Sunday night after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
Ms Harrison's story prompted Fremantle independent MP Adele Carles yesterday to commit to introducing euthanasia legislation into the Lower House if she is re-elected next month. She said politicians were out of step with the community.
The last time WA politicians had a chance to vote on euthanasia, it was defeated 24 to 11 in the Upper House. The private member's Bill, introduced by Greens MP Robin Chapple, would have allowed those over 21 with a terminal illness to ask a doctor to end their life.
Mr Chapple said he believed Ms Carles, a former Greens MP, was "reading the community". "It really does concern me that somehow or other we seem to elect people who don't reflect community views," he said.
It was a view echoed by pro-euthanasia groups. WA Voluntary Euthanasia Society president Murray Hindle said politicians appeared reluctant to risk upsetting opponents of euthanasia.
Premier Colin Barnett said a situation such as Ms Harrison's was sad but he remained opposed to legalising euthanasia.
"I extend my sympathy to her and her family," he said. "I don't support a legal system of euthanasia, I do support decisions about the care of the terminally ill being left to the doctors and the family."
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan, who has publicly supported euthanasia, said he supported a conscience vote but the debate should be brought on by a private member's Bill so it was not politicised.
"I think the time has come for the Lower House of Parliament to have that debate," he said.