Final vote on NSW’s voluntary assisted dying laws delayed until 2022
NSW residents will have to wait until next year to find out whether terminally ill people will be given the freedom to end their own lives.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, who has been leading the push for reform, introduced his voluntary assisted dying bill to parliament on Thursday and had hoped it could be finalised by the end of the year.
If the laws pass both houses, NSW would follow every other state in the country in legalising voluntary euthanasia for people with incurable medical conditions who have only a short time to live.
But the legislation will not go to a final vote until 2022 after the Legislative Council on Tuesday agreed to establish an inquiry into the bill if it passes the lower house.
Mark Banasiak, a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party upper house MP, referred the legislation to a Legislative Council committee with the support of the government and the Labor opposition.
The three lower house Shooters MPs have signalled their support for voluntary assisted dying.
Independent MP Greg Piper, who co-authored Mr Greenwich’s bill, said it was likely people would have been involved in “manufacturing” the referral in order to stall the debate.
“I don’t think that’s a sensible way of dealing with it. If you defer it, you’re just delaying the inevitable. And I’m not even predicting the bill will pass,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“I’m really disappointed for all those people who have an emotional investment in this. I think some of them will feel cheated. But it is what it is and we will deal with it.”
Mr Piper, one of three key crossbenchers the minority Perrottet government relies on to pass legislation, remains hopeful the Legislative Assembly will be able to debate and vote on the bill by the end of this year.
“Let’s give it a proper debate. The reality is this (bill) has already been heavily scrutinised, heavily consulted,” he said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns have ruled out supporting the bill, but have agreed to allow their MPs a free vote.
NCA NewsWire understands Liberal MPs have decided to allow a conscience vote on voluntary assisted dying.
It has been a longstanding principle to allow NSW Liberal Party members to vote any way they like on certain social issues that are seen as contentious, which was reiterated at a party room meeting on Tuesday.
Former premier Gladys Berejiklian reportedly told MPs there would be no more conscience votes in this term of government after a bruising and controversial debate over decriminalising abortion.
The voluntary assisted dying bill is backed by a record 28 MPs, including members of the government, crossbench and the Labor opposition.
Mr Greenwich said it was the highest number of co-sponsors to a bill in the history of any Australian parliament.
Originally published as Final vote on NSW’s voluntary assisted dying laws delayed until 2022
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