Go Gentle Australia welcomes the commencement of debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying bill in the NSW parliament today.
“This is an issue of great importance to the NSW community,” said Go Gentle Australia’s CEO Kiki Paul. “People with a terminal illness are suffering unnecessarily in this state and the longer a decision on this bill is delayed, the more people will suffer. It is encouraging to see that NSW MPs have recognised this urgency.”
Now that the debate had begun, it was important that a final vote on the VAD Bill occurred in the Lower House this year.
“The one thing that terminally ill people do not have is time. NSW MPs need to reassure dying people that there will be no more game playing and certainly no more unnecessary delays," Ms Paul said.
“NSW remains the only state not to pass a Voluntary Assisted Dying law. The longer this process drags on, the more inequitable the situation becomes for people in NSW who do not have access to the same end of life choices as other Australians.”
Ms Paul said the issue of VAD was an emotional one for many but that MPs should conduct themselves respectfully and engage in a considered debate.
“While VAD can be an emotional topic, we call on both sides to approach the debate in a respectful way, to stick to facts and to refrain from fearmongering and hypotheticals.
“Instead of focusing on their personal values, we ask MPs to look to the growing body of evidence from Victoria and Western Australia, where voluntary assisted dying laws similar to the proposed NSW law have been operating for up to two and a half years, and where experience shows these laws are well-drafted, compassionate and safe.”
Ms Paul said MPs also had a responsibility to represent the views of the people who elected them.
“Poll after poll has shown that more than 80% of people in NSW support choice at the end of life for eligible terminally ill people. On this issue, they are way ahead of their political representatives. It is time that the NSW parliament caught up with the rest of the community on this issue.”
Media contact: Steve Offner, 0426 283 865 [email protected]