Tasmania will join Victoria and Western Australia in legalising voluntary euthanasia, following the passage of a bill through the state’s lower house last night. Source: The Australian.
The End-of-Life Choices bill passed the House of Assembly, with the support of Labor and Greens MPs and a sufficient number of Liberal MPs, who had a conscience vote.
While the euthanasia legislation must return to the upper house, it is expected to pass that chamber later this month, becoming law from mid-2022.
Under the controversial reform, those suffering “intolerably” with terminal illness will be able to apply to access lethal medication, via a multi-stage process requiring support from two doctors.
Opponents of the bill criticised the quality of the debate, as MPs appeared determined to pass the bill to avoid sitting on a Friday. It passed 16-6.
Umbrella group Live and Die Well was “very disappointed” at the vote, given that it occurred just over a week after the release of two significant reports into the legislation.
Supporters of the bill have hailed it as nation-leading and long-overdue, after three earlier attempts to enact similar laws in Tasmania in the past decade.
Amendments to allow entire hospitals and aged-care centres to boycott the euthanasia system were defeated.
However, Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein, a supporter of the bill, promised the Catholic health sector would have input into protocols for transferring patients from non-euthanasia participating institutions to those offering it.
Euthanasia to become law in Tasmania after key vote (By Matthew Denholm, The Australian)