NSW Premier doesn’t think she can support the bill

NSW Premier doesn’t think she can support the bill

The NSW Premier and Member for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian, was interviewed by 2GB’s Ben Fordham on 5 September about the issue of voluntary assisted dying.

It seems that Ms Berejiklian has decided to vote against the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill (2017) which has not yet been presented and debated.

“Traditionally I’m someone who’s quite progressive on social issues, but that’s a difficult one for me,” she told reporters in Sydney. “I don’t think I can support it.”

Click here to listen to the 2GB interview (9.37 mins)

Click here for our transcript of the interview

The following letter was printed in The Australian on 13 September 2017. It was written by Richard Mills, President of Dying with Dignity NSW 2012 – 2014.

Arguments don’t fit the bill

So Gladys Berejiklian does not think she can support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill that is about to come before parliament.

More than 70 per cent of women, men, Liberals, Labor, Greens, Catholics, Anglicans, young and old agree that if someone with a terminal illness who is experiencing unrelievable suffering asks to die, a doctor should be allowed to assist them.

Why is the Premier so out of step?

Perhaps she agrees with Tony Abbott that it should be between doctor and patient, acknowledging that compassionate doctors help suffering patients to die every day but do so covertly for fear of prosecution.

Perhaps she is worried about the possible abuse of the vulnerable. Rightly so, but the evidence is that the safeguards in assisted dying laws overseas have worked well for decades without evidence of abuse.

Perhaps she thinks that palliative care is all that is needed. Wrong. Palliative Care Australia itself has acknowledged that there is a small percentage of dying people whose suffering cannot be relieved even by the best palliative care.

Perhaps she wants to consult her constituents. This is laudable but unnecessary, because poll after poll has shown high levels of popular support.

I would happily pay for a scientific survey of Ms Berejiklian’s Willoughby constituents if she agreed to vote in accordance with their wishes.

Richard Mills, Leura, NSW

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