The NSW Parliament Has Just Legalised Voluntary Assisted Dying

Twenty years after being first debated in the NSW parliament, voluntary assisted dying has been legalised in the state. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this bill received 28 co-sponsors from all different parties, which is the most co-sponsors a bill has ever obtained in Australia’s parliamentary history.

As per the ABC, this topic was debated by the Upper House for ten hours before the final votes were counted. Each member of parliament was allowed to make a conscience vote, meaning that they didn’t have to vote along party lines. In the end, it passed 23 to 15.

In an article by The Canberra Times, they outlined that folks wanting voluntary assisted dying must be over 18-years-old. These individuals must have a terminal illness that’s concluded will kill them in six months time or less. However, if someone has a terminal neurodegenerative disease, a doctor must believe that they’ll be deceased in 12 months time or less. These people must make this decision without being intimated, coerced, or threatened.

Not everyone was impressed that this bill has passed. Finance Minister Damien Tudehope was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that this decision was a “dreadful mistake.” Furthermore, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, expressed in a statement that the church “must redouble our efforts” to fight against voluntary assisted dying.

However, obviously not everyone has agreed with Tudehope and Fisher’s conclusions. As Jane Carlo tweeted, “What a great day for NSW and all of Australia. No one should be forced to endure needless suffering at the end of their life for the sake of someone else’s immortal soul. Sanity and humanity has prevailed.” 

Greens Senator for NSW Mehreen Faruqi also posted on Twitter, “I was a part of the Working Group on Assisted Dying in NSW Parliament, which introduced the first bill. I’m proud to have played a role so that people can die with dignity.”

If you’re curious about where else in Australia voluntary assisted dying is legal, then The Conversation expressed that it’s now allowed to happen in every state. But, while this is the case, it’s not legal in either the ACT or the Northern Territory. This is because in 1997, the Commonwealth approved legislation that would prevent these territories from passing such bills.