The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 was due to go to a lower house vote in NSW Parliament on November 25. However, in keeping with the bad faith tactics of VAD opponents seen during debates in other states where VAD is now safely operating, a small but increasingly isolated group of MPs have proposed a host of last-minute amendments to again delay the bill.
While a majority of MPs support Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich’s bill in accordance with their constituent’s wishes, those still willing to defy their electorate include Alister Henskens (Member for Ku-ring-gai), Kevin Connolly (Riverstone), Tanya Davies (Mulgoa) and Nathaniel Smith (Wollondilly).
In a November 25 media release, Dying With Dignity NSW announced the unfortunate delay, stating: “Dying With Dignity supporters have woken to the news that opponents of the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill in the NSW Parliament have tabled over 80 hostile amendments at the eleventh hour designed to delay the process and create new hurdles to access VAD, under the guise of protecting ‘the vulnerable’.”
Dying with Dignity NSW president Penny Hackett said many of the amendments were a “time-wasting exercise” by disgruntled MPs trying to delay the passage of the reform or render it almost impossible to access.
Dying With Dignity NSW Vice President Shayne Higson told Green Left: “There are 116 amendments proposed and 84 of them are what we would call ‘hostile’.”
“Today we are hearing the final Second Reading speeches. We expect a Second Reading vote perhaps around lunchtime. It is then likely to go straight into the Committee Stage with debate probably continuing into the night.”
With another late-night sitting expected in the NSW lower house, it is hoped the debate and vote can still be completed by the end of sitting on November 26.