Narrow defeat for NSW assisted dying bill

Support Not Suicide protestors outside NSW parliament yesterday (Twitter/SNS_NSW)

Proposed assisted dying laws have been defeated 20 votes to 19 in the NSW parliament, while the all-night debate on the same issue in the Victorian upper house continues, SBS News reports.

It was an emotional debate in the NSW upper house, with many MPs tearing up as they made their pleas for and against.

Even if the proposed legislation passed the upper house, it would have likely fallen through in the Legislative Assembly with both Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Opposition Leader Luke Foley opposing it.

"I worry about the message it sends to a society where some old and frail people feel that they are too much of a burden on their loved ones that they have to end it all," Mr Foley told AAP.

It's not the first time such laws have been scrapped in NSW parliament, with the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill defeated in its second reading by 23 votes to 13 in 2013.

The private members bill, introduced in September by Nationals MP Trevor Khan, would have provided patients 25 years or older, whose deaths are imminent and are in severe pain, a choice to end their lives.

Supporters insisted the bill would give terminally ill patients or those in excruciating pain the option to choose how they die.

Those against the bill cited the need for better palliative care and raised concerns about future amendments potentially removing current safeguards.

"Rather than creating a perceived need for euthanasia, we should be emphasising the advances in medicine and technology that help people," Labor health spokesman Walt Secord told parliament yesterday.

Outside parliament, supporters and opponents rallied in the hope of influencing MPs.

Martin Burrows, 73, from northwest Sydney, said the final few weeks he and his children spent with his wife as she died of cancer were precious. He argued there must be a better way to deal with painful deaths than "a bill for suicide".

Meanwhile, Victorian MPs have debated all night and look set to debate all day in a marathon sitting over proposed assisted dying laws.

After hours of back-and-forth in the chamber, the MPs have only reached agreement on a handful of more than 130 clauses.

FULL STORY

NSW assisted dying bill narrowly defeated (SBS News)

Marathon Vic death bill debate continues (SBS News)

RELATED COVERAGE

Euthanasia bill defeated in NSW upper house by a whisker (The Australian)

Voluntary assisted dying bill defeated in NSW upper house (Sydney Morning Herald)

Two MPs against euthanasia to be absent as marathon debate continues (Herald Sun)

Another day of debate as MPs’ tempers fray over euthanasia (The Australian)

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