By-election voters reject further delays in enacting NSW VAD law
A new poll shows almost two-thirds of voters want political leaders to put aside personal views and pass legislation to give terminally ill people in NSW the same end-of-life choices as other Australians.
An overwhelming majority of voters participating in this weekend’s NSW state by-elections support a terminally ill person’s right to end their life and believe that NSW’s Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill should be passed as soon as possible, a new poll shows.
Research conducted in the lead up to the Bega, Monaro, Strathfield and Willoughby by-elections tested support for the VAD Bill among local voters, revealing that 68.7 percent believe there should be no further delays in passing this legislation.
63 percent said they were more likely to support the leader of a political party who puts aside personal beliefs to vote in accordance with community sentiment.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation Survey – a telephone poll carried out by Community Engagement on behalf of Go Gentle Australia – found that three-quarters of respondents felt that it was important that NSW passed the legislation to bring it in line with the other states.
More than 70 percent agreed that, given a strong majority of local NSW MPs have already voted in favour of the VAD Bill, the Upper House of the NSW Parliament should not prevent the passage of the legislation.
"Don’t play political games. The people of NSW must not be left behind.”
Overall, 72 percent of respondents said they supported the bill. This was consistent between men and women and regardless of age.
Go Gentle Australia’s founding director Andrew Denton said the latest polling demonstrated that people in NSW want the same end-of-life choices as other Australians.
“Community support for voluntary assisted dying legislation in NSW has never been stronger and transcends political divides,” said Mr Denton.
“People expect their elected representatives to offer the same protections for terminally ill people in NSW that are available in every other state. This means passing the law – already debated and voted through the Lower House with a thumping majority – without delay and without amendments.
“The message to Upper House MPs is clear: Don’t play political games. The people of NSW must not be left behind.”
From the phone survey
- 785 respondents aged 18 years and over were evenly distributed among the four electorates. Telephone numbers were selected at random including both landline and mobile phone numbers. Responses were weighted to be representative with an effective margin of sample error of +/-6%.
- Almost two-thirds (63%) said they would be more likely to support the leader of a political party who was able to put aside personal beliefs and allow the passage of VAD legislation.
- Given a strong majority of lower house MPs have already voted in favour of Voluntary Assisted Dying, 71.4 percent of respondents said the Upper House should not prevent the passage of the legislation.
- 73.7 percent of people felt it was important that NSW passed a VAD law in line with other states, so that people in NSW had the same rights as other Australians.
- NSW Parliament last considered the issue of VAD in 2017. Almost 69 percent felt that there should be no further delays in passing this legislation.
- Support for VAD was consistent between men and women, and across age groups (50+ years versus under 50 years).
The telephone poll, conducted between 6-8 February 2022, asked voters to what extent they agreed or disagreed with several statements, including:
- The NSW Parliament needs to pass the voluntary assisted dying legislation to allow a person with a terminal illness from which they will die within 6 months to get a doctor to assist them to end their own life.
- It’s been five years since the NSW Parliament last considered this issue, there should not be any further delays in passing this legislation.
- Given a strong majority of local NSW MPs have already voted in favour of Voluntary Assisted Dying, the Upper House of the NSW Parliament shouldn’t prevent the passage of the legislation.
- As the last state in Australia to allow voluntary assisted dying, it is important that NSW passes laws in line with the other states, so that people in NSW have the same rights as other Australians.
- Now thinking about our state political leaders, would you be more or less likely to support the leader of a political party who was able to put aside their personal beliefs and allow the passage of this legislation, which a majority of people in NSW support?
Media contact: Steve Offner 0426 283 865 [email protected]