Majority of NSW MPs Support Dying Bill | Canberra weather


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A bill to legalize voluntary assisted dying is about to be passed in the lower house of New South Wales Parliament, with a majority of MPs indicating their support. The number of lower house MPs to vote in favor of the bill crossed the threshold of 47 early Thursday afternoon, before a vote slated for later Thursday. About 27 MPs spoke out against the reform, including Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns. Supporters of the bill, however, say it faces an “ambush” at the 11th hour, with more than 80 amendments tabled to the legislation so far. They will be debated Thursday evening, after the main vote on the law. Some of the amendments came from supporters who wanted to codify aspects of the bill and address concerns raised during debate, said Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, the politician who spearheaded the bill. Others come from opponents who are trying to put up new barriers. Dying with Dignity Chairperson Penny Hackett said many of the amendments were a “time-wasting exercise” by disgruntled MPs trying to delay passage of the reform or make it nearly impossible to implement. access. “These amendments are made in bad faith… they are an ambush,” she told AAP “(They were) presented at the 11th hour in great detail without consultation”. “(And) those MPs who are proposing these amendments will never vote for this law. There is no guarantee they would be happy with.” The proposals include labeling the VAD drugs “poison” and changing the name of the bill to something more inflammatory. Ms Hackett said the general public, the majority of whom support reform, would take a dim view of parliamentary games. “People in the community would think the legislation – especially something of the importance of this bill – would be carefully scrutinized and not open to random amendments proposed just to waste time.” Nonetheless, Mr Greenwich is optimistic that the debate in the Lower House can be finalized before Parliament steps down for the year on Friday. “It is clear that the members are organized and ready for us to discuss the amendments this year,” Mr Greenwich said. “There is enough time to be able to resolve it and I think it is in Parliament’s interest to see if we can resolve it this year.” Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall on Thursday supported the bill, saying a farm worker urged him to vote yes. The man’s family had just dropped off their beloved kelpie, after being hit by a car and in immense pain. “He’s a guy I never thought would think deeply with respect about anything this parliament would consider… but who for him has brought this issue home.” “Why can we make this choice for our beloved animal, but I cannot make this choice or my mother might not be able to make this choice,” Mr. Marshall said, citing the man. Police Minister David Elliott was among those who announced they would oppose the bill when debate resumed on Thursday. If passed, it would make NSW the last state in Australia to allow voluntary assistance in dying. The bill limits euthanasia to terminally ill people who die within a maximum of 12 months. Two doctors will have to assess applicants, and the bill criminalizes attempting to induce someone to seek voluntary assistance in dying. Associated Australian Press

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