Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passes Legislative Assembly

Penny and Mehreen from Dying with Dignity rallying outside Parliament.

 

THE Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill has passed the Legislative Assembly in the Parliament of NSW.

With 167 amendments debated and a number of nights in which the chamber sat until midnight, the vote passed 52 to 32.

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The bill was put forward by independent member Alex Greenwich and co-signed by 27 members of NSW Parliament across all political parties.

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington strongly advocated the need for voluntary assisted dying.

“As a proud co-sponsor of the bill, I’ll keep working to ensure everyone who’s making end of life decisions, has a choice of safe, equitable access to palliative care and voluntary assisted dying.

New South Wales is the only state in Australia where voluntary assisted dying is not legal.

Following the vote, Dying with Dignity NSW (DWD NSW) president Penny Hackett addressed the bill.

“This historic result sends a clear and unambiguous message to the Legislative Council that the people of New South Wales want this law passed to give dying people in this state the same rights as other Australians.”

Whilst Ms Hackatt is pleased that the bill has reached this point, she fears that the amendment process will “fundamentally change the nature of the bill in ways that are detrimental to dying people”.

Ms Hackett is concerned that amendments could impose additional requirements for medical assessments, and increase bureaucratic hurdles and waiting times.

“All of which is put forward in the interests of extra safeguards, but the reality is that they are designed to and will have the effect of making (the laws) very difficult for very vulnerable people to use,” Ms Hackatt said.

Both Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns voted against the Bill in the chamber.

The Bill will now be passed over the Upper House to reflect the will of the people of NSW, before it can be passed as law.

 

By Tara CAMPBELL

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