Assisted Dying Legislation In NSW Just Got Knocked Back By A Single Vote

The controversial fight continues across Australia.

voluntary assisted dying

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Last night, the NSW upper house finally voted on a controversial voluntary assisted dying bill. The bill was defeated 20-19, failing by just one vote.

The vote came after a day of emotional, often teary debate, with MPs from both sides speaking passionately on the proposed legislation. If passed, the bill would have provided terminally ill patients over the age of 25 with the option to end their lives if they are in severe pain. The legislation went through over 30 drafts in an attempt to take into account the concerns of its opponents.

In the final speech before the vote, Nationals MP Trevor Khan, who introduced the bill, emphasised that many of the statistics and cases raised by the bill’s opponents had been debunked.

“I tell you that the studies have been debunked,” he said. “We have tried to do our best for those people who are in the end stages of their life, people like Annie Gavrielides and her family, Belinda Scott and her father and all those others who have written to us.”

“This is a matter of life and death for them. It is not that we are bleeding hearts; it is looking in the eyes of people and knowing that what we are doing here as legislators actually matters. If this bill goes down, they will not get a second chance. We will get a second chance because we will bring this bill back again if it does not pass here tonight. We will bring it back in the future.”

This is not the first time an assisted dying bill has failed in NSW parliament, with a similar bill defeated in 2013. Had Khan’s bill passed the upper house yesterday, it still would have likely faced failure in the lower house.

In the wake of the bill’s failure, its supporters have taken to social media to express their disappointment and resolve to try again.

Critics of the bill have argued that the NSW bill included fewer safeguards than the legislation proposed in Victoria, which they say is a better model. The Victorian bill is currently before the upper house, after passing the lower house last month.

Feature image via Support Not Suicide