The New South Wales parliament has moved closer to allowing euthanasia, but advocates for legalizing voluntary assisted death say their fight is unlikely to materialize this week.
NSW is the only state in Australia that does not allow assisted dying for terminally ill people, but advocates hope the legislation will finally be passed next week.
The state’s upper house passed the bill’s second reading stage Wednesday night by a vote of 20 to 17.
Members of the upper house have yet to debate the amendments and a final vote is expected next week, Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich said.
The landmark legislation passed the lower house with a majority of 20 last year.
“It’s been a long journey, a long, long-awaited journey,” Mr Greenwich said.
“We know NSW is the latest state to pass this compassionate reform.”
Greenwich said the proposed bill is one of the most conservative models in the country, with 46 amendments to legislation already passed.
“It is my appeal to the upper house not to create barriers and work to seek voluntary assisted death in New South Wales by the end of next week,” he said. he declares.
The Voluntary Assisted Death Bill has been introduced in parliament with 28 co-sponsors, more than any other piece of legislation in Australian history.
“This is legislation that belongs to colleagues in Parliament and is supported by a majority of people,” Mr Greenwich said.
“When a bill is supported by a majority of MPs, it must pass.”
Supporters of the bill gathered outside NSW parliament on Wednesday and are confident the bill will pass next week.
“We have waited a long time, because in 50 years Dying With Dignity has campaigned for these laws,” NSW branch president Shayne Higson told AAP.
“We have to keep the pressure on because we know the legislation is not supported by our Prime Minister,” Ms Higson said.
“Fortunately, there are enough MPs in the NSW parliament who reflect the support in their communities and now that support is also showing in the upper house.”
Steve Offner of Go Gentle Australia hopes the bill will pass into law next week.
“We are quietly confident that tonight there will be a second reading vote which will be the first vote in the upper house,” he said.
“Nothing should happen today in terms of a final resolution, but we hope that maybe next week we will see a final (resolution).”
Leaders of major faith-based medical and care providers are urging MLC NSW to respect the rights of staff and residents of aged care facilities who do not wish to facilitate assisted dying.
HammondCare, Anglicare and Catholic Health Australia provide home-based aged care services for up to 16,500 people in New South Wales, while also supporting over 35,000 people in their private homes.
They say the bill requires denominational aged care facilities to allow physicians to enter their premises to prescribe and even administer restricted drugs with the intent of causing the death of a resident without even inform the establishment.
Australian Associated Press