West Australian politicians could vote as early as next year on whether to legalise voluntary euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses, with Premier Mark McGowan among those pushing for change, ABC News reports.
The Lower House of Parliament is set to vote today to establish a committee to examine "end of life" choices, with a report then due to be released mid next year.
Mr McGowan said he hoped legislation would be brought before Parliament next year. But the likelihood of any bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia passing Parliament is unclear, with Labor, the Liberals, Nationals and One Nation all giving their members a conscience vote on the issue.
The committee was proposed by Labor's Morley MP Amber-Jade Sanderson, who said she believed there was strong public support for legalising euthanasia.
"Politicians and parliaments have been deeply reluctant to examine this issue further," Ms Sanderson told Parliament.
"It is a hard issue, it is a personal issue, about ethical dilemmas, grief and loss."
Mr McGowan said he wanted a bi-partisan approach to the development of any legislation.
"I'd like legislation to come in next year, put together by this committee, that everyone can have their own free vote on," he said. "I am not going to try to ram my views down people's throats, but I do think that its time has come."
Several bills to legalise euthanasia have been brought to State Parliament in the past, but the most recent to come to a vote was comfortably defeated.
Some opponents of legalising euthanasia expressed confidence that any bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia would be defeated.
"The risks are too great and the consequences are final," Liberal MP Nick Goiran said.
Anti-euthanasia advocate Fr Joe Parkinson warned that, even if assisted dying was legalised solely for people with terminal illnesses, that would be expanded in the future to other groups.
"No matter how tightly constrained that legislation is, euthanasia always expands out to other categories," he said.