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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Support grows for NSW assisted dying bill, vote likely today

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A bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying is just nine votes short of passing the lower house in NSW, but will face an onslaught of amendments.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and former deputy premier John Barilaro are among 38 MPs who have backed the bill during the debate.

Twenty-six MPs have spoken against the proposed changes so far, with all members afforded a conscience vote.

When it returns for debate, the bill requires 47 ayes to clear the lower house.

The bill will likely go to a vote today, when attention will then turn to debating suggested amendments.

More than 60 amendments have been tabled to the bill so far, and that number is growing, says the politician who’s spearheaded the bill, Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.

Some of the amendments are from supporters who wish to codify aspects of the bill and address concerns raised in debate, Greenwich told reporters. 

Others are from opponents trying to put in new barriers.

Nevertheless, Greenwich is optimistic the lower house debate can be finalised before parliament retires for the year tomorrow (Friday).

“It’s clear that members are organised and ready for us to have the amendments debated this year,” Greenwich said. 

“There is sufficient time to be able to resolve it and I think it’s in the parliament’s best interest to see if we can resolve it this year.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns will oppose the bill.

If it passes, it would make NSW the last state in Australia to permit voluntary assisted dying.

The proposed legislation 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 a criminal offence of attempting to induce a person to apply for voluntary assisted dying.

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