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‘It Will Not Help But Harm’: NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet Opposes Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

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‘It Will Not Help But Harm’: NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet Opposes Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

The NSW Premier has spoken out against the voluntary assisted dying bill because he feels it would 'open a door that could not be closed'.

Dominic Perrottet acknowledged that in his role as Treasurer he 'failed' by not providing adequate funding for palliative care, but said he would work to fix that system, rather than put his support behind voluntary euthanasia.

"This debate is fundamentally about how we treat that precious thing called human life," he said.

Dominic Perrottet
Dominic Perrottet
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"Our answer to that question defines what kind of society we will be. This bill, at its heart, enshrines a new principle: that we can intentionally help terminate the life of certain people to end their suffering.

"Make no mistake, this is a culture-changing decision. Once we accept the principle of this bill, we cross a line and nothing will be the same, as we will have started to define the value of a life."

Perrottet said the bill was particularly relevant to him, having spent the week prior visiting his 90-year-old grandmother, who is in hospital with pancreatic cancer.

He's worried about an ethical line being crossed and noted how Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands approved voluntary assisted dying for those who are terminally ill but have since amended it to cover 'people whose deaths are not imminent'.

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MPs who support the bill have said the lack of funding for palliative care is a different issue from the euthanasia bill and that the two should not be conflated.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich. Credit: Richard Milnes / Alamy Stock Photo
Independent MP Alex Greenwich. Credit: Richard Milnes / Alamy Stock Photo

Independent MP Alex Greenwich introduced the voluntary assisted dying bill in October and it was co-sponsored by 28 other politicians.

If passed, the bill will make NSW the last state to allow euthanasia, with access limited to people with terminal illnesses who will die within six months, or 12 months in the case of a person with a neurodegenerative condition who was experiencing unbearable suffering.

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A number of MPs spoke at the beginning of the debate last week, with Planning Minister Rob Stokes, customer service minister Victor Dominello and the former transport minister Andrew Constance all speaking in support of the bill.

Labor leader Chris Minns is also opposed to the bill, saying it 'cannot protect against the conduct of people with bad intentions'.

Both major parties have granted a conscience vote on the bill and have agreed to refer it to an upper house inquiry, which means the debate will continue into 2022.

Featured Image Credit: Dominic Perrottet

Topics: News, Australia

Hannah Blackiston
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