Gladys Berejiklian is poised to enter debate over voluntary assisted dying bill – after both Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition leader Chris Minns spoke out against it
- Debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will resume for a full day on Friday
- 34 MPs slated to speak on the issue, including former Premier Gladys Berejiklian
- 31 politicians have already had their say, with 20 supporting and 11 opposed
- Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns spoke against bill
Supporters of voluntary assisted dying in NSW are hopeful they’ll know by the end of the day whether the reform has the support of a majority of lower-house MPs.
Debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will resume for a full day on Friday, with 34 MPs slated to speak on the issue, including former Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Thirty-one politicians have already had their say in the conscience debate that began last week, with 20 supporting the reform and 11 opposed.
‘By the end of today, we should have an idea of whether or not we have a compassionate parliament in NSW,’ Dying With Dignity President Penny Hackett said.
Dormer premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has flagged her intention to resign from parliament but is still an MP, could speak on Friday
Volunteers from Dying with Dignity NSW plant over 3,000 hearts with a message from someone who supports voluntary assisted dying laws behind the lawns at Parliament House in Sydney
Alex Greenwich, the independent Sydney MP spearheading the bill, said he hoped for a repeat of last week’s ‘really respectful’ debate, which was ‘parliament at its best’.
Among the MPs expected to speak on Friday is former deputy premier John Barilaro.
It’s not yet known whether former premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has flagged her intention to resign from parliament but is still an MP, will speak.
Outgoing Bega MP Andrew Constance spoke on the bill last week.
Supporters of the bill will plant 3,000 hearts in a field outside parliament on Friday with personal stories written inside.
Ms Hackett said all MPs should drop by to read the messages.
‘If they’re undecided, they should read those messages very closely and take the voices of those people into account,’ she said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) spoke against the voluntary assisted dying bill last Friday
The bill will likely go to a vote next Thursday, when attention will then turn to debating suggested amendments.
Mr Greenwich said he was negotiating in good faith with a number of MPs.
‘I’m also aware that there are opponents of the bill drafting up likely hundreds of hostile amendments to the bill,’ he said.
He said he was hoping for an orderly process that would see the debate wrapped up by next week.
‘Ultimately, it will depend on whether colleagues continue to play games and filibuster and hold MPs back from getting back to their families and their communities,’ Mr Greenwich said.
If the bill passes, it would make NSW the last state in Australia to permit voluntary assisted dying.
Ms Hackett said the NSW bill was almost entirely consistent in every major respect with other states’ laws.
‘Amending those laws to make it more difficult for the people in NSW would be very unfair.
‘I don’t think that the people of NSW are somehow more uniquely vulnerable and in need of protection than other Australians, and I would ask MPs who oppose this law to act in good faith and … allow dying people to have the same rights as their countrymen,’ she said.
The bill has a record 28 co-sponsors from across the political spectrum, but is opposed by Opposition Leader Chris Minns (pictured)
Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns spoke against the bill last Friday.
Ms Hackett said it was disappointing to see and a free vote meant MPs should reflect the views of their electorate.
‘Every MP knows there’s a majority of support in their electorate (and has been) provided with incontrovertible evidence … If people have a personal or even a religious view for opposing this bill, the thing that they really should be doing is abstaining.’
The bill has a record 28 co-sponsors from across the political spectrum.
It restricts euthanasia to terminally ill people who would die in no more than 12 months. Two doctors will have to assess applicants, and the bill makes attempting to induce a person to apply for voluntary assisted dying a criminal offence.