Advocates Concerned NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill Could Be Delayed

Prolonging the outcome


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New South Wales' voluntary assisted dying bill has yet to gain momentum, with some concerned conservative liberalists will delay debating the laws in the Premiers absence.

The only state in Australia, yet to legalise euthanasia, NSW advocacy groups and MPs are concerned debating the bill could languish for months.

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Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, who introduced the bill in 2021 to the lower house, said it’s "essential we have the same clear expectations and guarantees on time in the upper house”.

“Without any clear plan from government on debate time, I’m concerned debate will drag out for months meaning more people will unnecessarily die horrific deaths.”

- MP Greenwich

Advocacy groups Go Gentle Australia and Dying with Dignity will rally outside Parliament House on Wednesday, in a bid to scale up pressure on the Upper House.

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Chief executive of Go Gentle Australia, Kiki Paul, said terminally ill people in NSW continued to suffer against their wishes.

“Every other state has passed a voluntary assisted dying law. The NSW lower house passed the bill last year. Now we need the upper house to get on with it and give this bill the debate time it needs,” Ms Paul said.

Tabled to be debated during a two-week sitting period, starting on Tuesday, advocates are concerned the bill will be pushed aside to allow debates for other bills, on less sensitive topics.

NSW Premier Dominique Perrottet, who vigorously opposed the voluntary assisted dying bill when it was introduced, will miss the debate while on paternity leave, sparking concerns that conservative liberals will use his non-attendance to delay the debate.

Labor upper house MP Adam Searle said the bill was "certainly not being rushed”, considering it has gone before the upper house three times during the last decade.

“The lower house passed the bill by a significant majority, after really detailed consideration and amendments. There has been a thorough Legislative Council inquiry and report,” Mr Searle said. “It is a responsibility on all of us to find the time in Parliament to ensure this occurs. That means everyone will have to give a little, to provide that space, or for us to set down extra time if it is needed.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14; BeyondBlue 1300 22 46 36; NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511

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Hit News Team

22 March 2022

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