(Joint Media Release, 16 May 2017)
The NSW Parliamentary Working Group on Assisted Dying (PWGAD) today released a public consultation draft of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (NSW), bringing the Bill one step closer to being debated by the NSW Parliament.
“Polling conducted in NSW has consistently showed overwhelming support for terminally ill people to receive assistance from doctors to voluntarily end their lives. The Draft Bill reflects current community attitudes towards voluntary assisted dying in NSW,” Lynda Voltz said.
The Working Group, consisting of Trevor Khan (Nationals), Lynda Voltz (Labor), Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), Lee Evans (Liberal), and Alex Greenwich (Independent), has invited members of the public to make submissions on the Draft Bill.
“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholder organisations and looked at the best parts of similar legislation across the world to draft a compassionate bill. We now want to hear from the wider community and work with our colleagues across the parliament to ensure the bill has the best chance of passing,” Alex Greenwich said.
The Bill establishes a robust framework for the rights of eligible terminally ill persons to request and receive assistance from medical practitioners to end their lives voluntarily.
Patients must be assessed by a primary medical practitioner; a secondary medical practitioner who must be a specialist; and either a psychologist or psychiatrist who must confirm the patient is of sound mind, has decision-making capacity, and is making their decision freely and voluntarily and after due consideration.
“The Bill contains important and comprehensive safeguards that are in line with community expectations on this issue,” Lee Evans said.
Under the Draft Bill, doctors, health care providers and any other person, have a protected right to conscientiously object to assisting a patient voluntarily end their lives.
“Nobody is under any legal or professional obligation to participate in the process outlined in the Bill. It is important that medical practitioners and healthcare providers be protected from liability should they choose, or refuse, to provide assistance to a patient under the Act.” Trevor Khan said.
The Working Group will publicly consult on the Bill for 3 months, and will organise community information sessions in Sydney and across regional centres in NSW. The Working Group expects the Bill to be debated in the Spring Session of NSW Parliament.
“Reform in this area is long overdue, and the community expects their elected representatives to bring about this reform. The Working Group is looking forward to hearing from the community on this important issue,’ Dr Mehreen Faruqi said.
The Hon. Trevor Khan MLC
The Hon. Lynda Voltz MLC
Dr. Mehreen Faruqi MLC
Lee Evans MP
Alex Greenwich MP