The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill NSW 2017 is expected to pass in the Legislative Council this month, before being handed down to the Legislative Assembly in November.
This bill would make both assisted suicide and euthanasia legal in cases where a doctor believes someone has 12 months or less left to live. This will only apply to NSW residents who are 25 years old or older.
“Legislation in which the State authorises and supports some people committing suicide and medical practitioners deliberately acting to terminate human life sends very puzzling messages to the community: namely that some suicides are not only acceptable, but doctors should assist them to occur,” says Professor Michael Quinlan, Dean of the School of Law at Notre Dame university, “All in all this is a very bad bill”.
This bill has been drafted by an unofficial working group of politicians including MLCs Trevor Khan, Mehreen Faruqi, Lynda Voltz, and MPs Alex Greenwich and Lee Evans.
“Parliamentarians would be well advised to listen to geriatricians and palliative care physicians, the doctors who actually care for frail and dying patients. We are not asking for assisted suicide. We do not need euthanasia to care for our patients. We are asking for better funded palliative medicine and geriatric medicine services” says Dr John Obeid, geriatrician
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are currently illegal throughout Australia in all six states and both territories. The Australian Medical Association (AMA), the professional association for Australian doctors and medical students, has declared its opposition to changing the law to legalise physician-assisted suicide.
FamilyVoice, working in coalition with the Support Not Suicide campaign, will continue to advocate for better palliative care and support for all NSW residents, as opposed to allowing our medical professionals to assist in the suicide of their patients.