As legislation to allow euthanasia in New South Wales is set to be introduced in state Parliament, Catholic Health Australia is calling on MPs to focus on advances in palliative care.
A cross-party group of 28 state MPs will support the legislation, the highest number of co-sponsors to a bill in the history of any Australian parliament.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is the first major parliamentary test for new Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has promised to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Neither Mr Perrottet nor Labor Opposition Leader Chris Minns support the bill.
The proposed law, which has the support of government MPs, Labor, Greens and assorted members of the crossbench, will give terminally ill people the option to end their lives at a time and place of their choosing.
Independent member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, who will introduce the bill this week, yesterday delivered a petition of more than 100,000 signatures to the State Parliament supporting the legislation.
Meanwhile, Catholic Health Australia is calling on NSW MPs to be conscious that advances in palliative care have fundamentally changed the political equation over the past decade.
In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, CHA chair John Watkins called on the MPs to look at the issue in light of medical advances.
“The idea that supporting euthanasia is progressive, and opposing it is conservative, is obsolete. In fact, any thoughtful progressive should be worried about where the rush towards voluntary assisted dying is taking us,” Mr Watkins said.
“The critical factor that’s changed over the past decade is medical science, primarily in the field of palliative care. New treatments like intrathecal care and nerve blocking are enabling people with life-ending conditions to achieve a quality of life inaccessible last century.”
Advances in palliative care, but lack of universal access, have upended politics of assisted dying (Catholic Health Australia)
Voluntary assisted dying bill draws multiparty support across NSW Parliament (By Lucy Cormack and Tom Rabe, Sydney Morning Herald)