Assisted Dying Could Be Law By This Christmas
Everyone Has The Right To Die With Dignity. It's Time NSW Caught Up.
Four years ago, an assisted dying law bill failed to pass the Legislative Council in NSW parliament by just one vote.
Now, advocates are trying to get legislation rolling again in the hope that voluntary assisted dying could become legal in NSW by Christmas.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich (who is progressive on the political spectrum) will launch the bill, which he’s been drafting for the last six months. He describes it as “a very conservative voluntary assisted dying piece of legislation”. (By that, he is signalling that it’s not progressive, extreme, and relatively safe, rather than it being right wing).
That bill will be released to the public this week.
“Four years ago, no other state had progressed with voluntary assisted dying, now every other state has,” Greenwich said.
He raises a very valid point; Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have all passed assisted dying legislation and a bill is now before the Queensland Parliament.
Recent data shows that 581 people have so far applied for an assisted dying permit in Victoria, 405 permits have been issued and 224 people have died from taking the prescribed medications.
It can be a long, hard slog to get assisted dying legislation through. Keep in mind; in South Australia it took 17 attempts over 25 years to pass the bill.
“[Those states who have passed legislation] have been able to show that a lot of the concerns of opponents are actually not borne out in reality,” Greenwich said.
Dying with Dignity NSW spokeswoman Shayne Higson says it’s time NSW caught up with other states. “They [NSW] have fallen behind,” he said. “This is an issue that has had widespread community support for many, many years – for decades.”
6 things you need to know about the bill:
- It would include protections for aged care home or hospitals that do not want to facilitate voluntary assisted dying. For instance, nursing homes with religious affiliations that do not wish to facilitate.
- Greenwich is aiming for the bill to have more co-sponsors (more than 20 from across the political divide) than any other in Australian history.
- He intends to introduce the bill in the last sitting week in August.
- NSW Labor leader Chris Minns says he does not support the law reform, but it will be a conscience vote for the Labor Party.
- Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously said she does not want parliament to debate the issue. Bear in mind that a majority of Liberals in the lower house opposed the abortion bill and say Berejiklian promised not to make them debate this topic too.
- The Nationals, including leader John Barilaro, have signalled support for assisted dying.
The right of every individual, including the terminally ill, to die with dignity has huge community support. It’s time NSW caught up.