Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 - Debate

25th November 2021

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (12:23): I thank the member for Fairfield for moving his amendment. The co-sponsors of the bill have considered the amendment and we will not support it. We have heard repeatedly from members on the other side that New South Wales should not follow what other States have done, that we should ignore the well-established terms that have been used elsewhere, even though those terms would provide certainty in interpretation. Yet the same arguments are now being pushed to change the bill to blindly adopt the provisions in the bill that was introduced in the other place in 2017, which was opposed and defeated at the time. The 2017 bill would have been the first of its kind to pass in this country. The 2021 bill has had the advantage of laws and inquiries across the country to inform its drafting.

The proposed addition to the membership of the board is not relevant to this bill. The membership of the board has been established drawing from other States and the roles that this board will have. Yesterday the member for Coogee moved amendments to ensure that two registered medical practitioners are on the board. The co-sponsors supported this as it is clear how medical practitioners can add value to the role. It is not clear how the State Coroner, for example, would add value to the process. The board will have the power to refer matters to the Coroner and the Coroner would not be limited in inquiring into any matter. Why would we want them or some other professionals to be tied up with matters of the board? It would be an inefficient use of their time, to say the least. The health Minister and the Attorney General will have the discretion to determine who else in addition to the chair and deputy chair, who will have legal experience, will be best placed to serve on the board. We oppose the amendment.

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