NSW ‘voluntary assisted dying’ bill vote in May

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP marches in November 2021 against the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

A vote on Independent MLA Alex Greenwich’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will likely take place on 11 May, with 33 MLCs out of a possible 41 having given their Second Reading speeches.

Twenty-two MLCs have spoken in favour of the bill, with only 11 speaking against. Eight possible speakers remain.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 has already passed the NSW lower house, and is awaiting a vote in the Legislative Council, after which amendments will be proposed.

Labor MLC Greg Donnelly said opponents of the bill must “do what they can to attempt to make it less bad than when it entered the upper house”.

Conscience votes mean Parliamentarians from all parties have taken individual positions on the bill, delivering impassioned speeches on the last day of debate, 30 March.

Labor MLC Shaoquette Moselmane. Photo: NSW Parliament.

Labor’s Shaoquette Moselmane MLC cited both Archbishop Anthony Fisher and the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, in his opposition to euthanasia.

“Life is not a commodity that we can simply discard; it must not be dispensed with,” Mr Moselmane said.

“Once that happens, we are all then on a roll downhill to misery.”

Liberal MLC Scott Farlow also opposed the bill, saying during the Parliamentary Inquiry into the bill late last year he was “struck by the real risk posed to the wellbeing of vulnerable people in our society by the removal of the longstanding blanket prohibitions on intentionally ending a person’s life or aiding a person to commit suicide.”

“lIFE IS NOT A COMMODITY THAT WE CAN SIMPLY DISCARD.. ONCE THAT HAPPENS, WE ARE ALL THEN ON A ROLL DOWNHILL TO MISERY”.

“I still hold grave concerns that people will avail themselves of this legislation out of guilt — the guilt of burden,” Mr Farlow said.  His fellow Liberal Party MLC, Natalie Ward, cited her Christian faith in support of euthanasia.

“People in good conscience do what they think is right, and I believe everyone has brought that to this debate. On this bill, I will be voting on what is my good conscience.

“I have reconciled that with my faith—that I must love others enough to help them and support their voluntary choice.”

She added that, “I try to put the rights of the individual at the centre, the rights of the individual to self-determination balanced by the needs of the community and the need to do no harm.

“As a liberal, that is what I fundamentally believe.”

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