The debate on voluntary euthanasia in Tasmania began in the Legislative Council yesterday and continued late into the night. Source: The Examiner.
The debate will resume each Tuesday until the legislation goes to a final vote. It is the first bill of its kind debated in the Legislative Council but is the fourth attempt to have such laws pass through Tasmania's Parliament.
Independent MP Mike Gaffney, who brought the legislation to the chamber, said community understanding on the merits of voluntary assisted dying had matured in recent years. He said the legislation was overdue and capable of being enacted with the strictest oversights to ensure the process was only available to those who met the required standards.
Independent MP Ruth Forrest said the bill was the most challenging piece of public policy she had considered in her 15 years in the upper house.
Ms Forrest said public discourse over voluntary assisted dying had been driven by fear which was, at times, rational. She said there were very few instances where pain and suffering cannot be mitigated.
She said she was concerned consultation with medical bodies had not been broad enough.
Ms Forrest foreshadowed she would move amendments to the bill as did Labor health spokeswoman Sarah Lovell.
Liberal MP Leonie Hiscutt said palliative care was advancing by the day and cures to ailments were always just around the corner.
Another Liberal MP, Jo Palmer, said those in the palliative care field were split on the issue of voluntary assisted dying. She said some medical professionals had told her they were already speeding up the dying process - just in an inhumane way.
Tasmanian Parliament starts debate on voluntary assisted dying laws for fourth time (By Matt Maloney, The Examiner)
Ten things to know about the Tasmanian euthanasia bill (Hope: Preventing euthanasia and assisted suicide)