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Premier Gladys Berejiklian silent on voluntary assisted dying vote

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declined to reveal her position on the draft bill.  Photo: Wolter Peeters

Premier Gladys Berejiklian silent on voluntary assisted dying vote

Sean Nicholls

 MAY 16 2017

(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)

The NSW Parliament will be voting on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 later this year which would allow terminally ill people such as Annie, who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease, to die with dignity. Credit: Dying with Dignity NSW.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley says he would vote against legislation to allow voluntary assisted dying should it make it to the lower house, but that Labor MPs would be granted a free vote.

On Tuesday, a cross-party working group comprising Liberal MP Lee Evans, Nationals MLC Trevor Khan, Labor MLC Lynda Voltz, Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi and independent MP Alex

It states that a patient must be likely to die of their illness within 12 months.

The decision must be signed off by two medical practitioners, and the patient assessed by an independent psychiatrist or psychologist.

Other safeguards include a 48-hour cooling-off period, the patient's ability to rescind the decision at any time and the right for close relatives to challenge patient eligibility in the Supreme Court.

Attending the launch was Anne Gabrielides who was last year diagnosed with motor neurone disease and is petitioning NSW MPs to support the bill.

"I want an option when I can't move or eat or breathe," Ms Gabrielides, who can no longer speak, told a media conference via her iPad.

The Australian Medical Association opposes legalising voluntary euthanasia, but the draft bill received support from the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association.

"Nurses experience death all the time and many have been very closely involved in painful deaths that are not the desired way for people to die," said its general secretary, Brett Holmes.

"At the moment certain decisions about palliative care can hasten death in a comfortable way but that is somewhat in the hands of the people administering it as to how it proceeds.

"We think the patients should have the right to have a say in that, not just the doctors."

Christian Democratic Party MLC, Reverend Fred Nile, vowed to oppose the bill arguing that "doctors are committed to saving lives, not killing patients".

But Mr Khan, whose late father asked him to help him die after being incapacitated by a stroke, said the cross party nature of the draft bill meant that the bill has "enough votes that we can shift across the aisle".


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