MPs vote against Tasmanian euthanasia bill

A clear majority of Tasmania’s lower house has voted against a bill which proposed legalising voluntary euthanasia.

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MPs on Wednesday spent hours deliberating reasons for and against legislation to give Tasmanians with an eligible medical condition, who are judged competent, access to a lethal drug to end their life.

But the bill was defeated 16 to eight in a conscience vote on Wednesday night.

State Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, who had co-authored the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, said every day the parliament avoided the issue, it was “another day of suffering and potentially choices for people for whom palliation does not and cannot provide relief”.

She promised to introduce the legislation as a private member, if re-elected, in the next term.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the bill would leave vulnerable people exposed to exploitation and remove protections safeguarding the sanctity of life.

“This is in fact a dangerous bill that will in fact create a different group of cruel tragedies,” he said on Wednesday.

“We’ve said every suicide is too many yet before us is a bill that would sanction suicide.”

Former Tasmanian premier Ms Giddings stressed the proposed law would act as a last resort for people suffering intolerable pain, and palliative care options often subjected patients to “state-sanctioned torture” preventing them from ending their lives with dignity.

Liberal premier Will Hodgmanm, who opposed the bill, had insisted party members voted with their heart, leading to Nic Street being among the bill’s supporters.

NSW and Victorian parliaments are also considering similar bills amid support for euthanasia rights.

Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Lance Franklin impressed with young Swan

Will Hayward has played only eight AFL games but already made a big impression on Sydney teammate Lance Franklin.

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Hayward, who joined the club during last year’s draft, made his debut in round two and hasn’t looked back.

Forwards generally take a long time to develop but Hayward has already stepped up superbly, booting 11 goals.

Franklin, who is regarded as a mentor by many young guns at the SCG, has been suitably impressed with the 18-year-old.

“He’s been super … to do that in your first year is a really good effort,” Franklin said of the South Australian’s capacity to keep the scoreboard ticking over at such a young age.

“He’s probably the most exciting kid coming through (at the Swans).”

Franklin will take centre stage on Friday night, when the Swans host his former side Hawthorn at the SCG, in a crunch clash.

Sydney dropped their opening six games of the year but have since impressed in comfortable victories over Brisbane, North Melbourne and St Kilda.

Franklin suggested there was one clear difference between the way his side played earlier this year compared to now.

“Working as a team, helping your teammates and just that contested side of the game; that’s really what has got us back in the game,” he said.

“Hanners (Dan Hannebery), Joey (Kennedy) and Parks (Luke Parker) are playing some good football, getting it going forward and giving us a chance to win the game.”

The Swans and Hawks have built a special rivalry in recent years, notably contesting the 2012 and 2014 grand finals.

But this year both powerhouses have tumbled down the ladder, banking a combined six wins across the opening nine rounds. It means the Swans and Hawks’ finals hopes are already in the balance.

“We didn’t get off to the start we would have liked to as a club but the last three weeks have been really good,” Franklin said.

“No doubt (the Hawks will be desperate). Obviously they lost last week against Collingwood so they’re going to come out firing, we’ll have to be at our best to get the win.”

The Swans are expected to resist the urge to rush former co-captain Kieren Jack back from a hip injury when they name their side on Thursday night.

Blues defend Walters on Slater Origin snub

NSW winger Blake Ferguson has leapt to the defence of Queensland coach Kevin Walters following his gut-wrenching decision to drop Billy Slater for State of Origin I.

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Walters has been pilloried both sides of the border after seemingly shutting the door on the Melbourne champion’s 27-game Origin career, a call which reduced him to tears.

Even north Queensland maverick politician Bob Katter on Wednesday joined the pile on, accusing the Queensland selectors of being in the pocket of Brisbane after selecting Broncos skipper Darius Boyd in the No.1 jersey.

However Ferguson defended the selection of his Kangaroos teammate, calling him the best custodian in the league over the last few years.

“I think Darbs is the form fullback in the comp and he’s been playing a couple of years at fullback (for the Maroons),” Ferguson said.

“It’s sad to see someone like Billy Slater miss out but Darbs has shown he’s earned that position.”

Walters made the difficult decision to stick with Boyd at fullback, resisting the temptation to play him on the wing and Slater in the No.1.

Slater has returned in stunning form this year following back-to-back shoulder reconstructions but given he is 33, Walters has decided to move on.

Katter on Wednesday made the unusual step of turning on his own and in a press release riddled with spelling errors accused Walters of nepotism and claimed only one per cent of Queenslanders supported Boyd’s selection ahead of Slater.

“Darrius (sic) Boyd wouldn’t know what a linebreak was if he fell over it on a dark night,” Katter’s statement said, ignoring Boyd’s record of two linebreaks, 10 linebreak assists and six try assists this year.

“We don’t deny Darrius Boyd is a solid rock on which you can build an NRL team.

“However that is not needed at State of Origin level when you have arguably all-time great players such as Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.”

Qld back nice guy Cordner as NSW captain

The days of the NSW skipper as public enemy No.

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1 in Queensland appear numbered.

The thought may have seemed inconceivable with 16-time captain Paul Gallen at the Blues helm.

Especially after his now infamous “two heads” jibe at Maroons fans.

But new Blues skipper Boyd Cordner won’t be infuriating anyone north of the Tweed River any time soon, judging by rare praise from the Maroons.

Cordner’s predecessor Gallen gleefully revelled in the role of Origin villain in Queensland.

He quickly became the man Maroons fans loved to hate, ruffling most feathers when he described them as “two heads” in 2014.

However, Cordner may yet get cheers not jeers from the Suncorp Stadium crowd at Origin I next Wednesday night judging by the Queensland team’s reaction to his looming debut as NSW captain.

“He’s actually a very likeable guy,” Queensland and Test skipper Cameron Smith said.

“I’ve only got good things to say about Boyd. He’s a very impressive player and person as well.

“I can only applaud him being given the captaincy of the Blues – I’m sure he’ll do a great job.”

Sydney Roosters backrower Cordner, 24, became the youngest Blues skipper in 21 years when he was handed the reigns for 2017.

He held out the likes of Wests Tigers captain Aaron Woods and Canterbury back-rower Josh Jackson in order to take over from veteran prop Gallen.

“It’s probably the best decision NSW could have made, not that I worry too much about their decisions,” Queensland prop Dylan Napa said of Roosters teammate Cordner.

“I wish him, well, not too much luck. He’s a great leader and an even better bloke. He’s probably my best mate at the Roosters.”

France, Germany agree to Trump’s IS plan

France and Germany will agree to a US plan for NATO to play a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.

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The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda.

“NATO as an institution will join the coalition,” said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. “The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States. France and Germany believe it is.”

Flying to the NATO meeting in Brussels with Trump, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday it would be an important step for the Organisation to join the US-led, 68-nation coalition.

“I think they’re going to support NATO joining and becoming a formal member,” he said, referring to “a couple of countries that are still thinking it over” but not giving details.

Trump has said he wants to focus on fighting Islamic terrorism and, in a brief encounter with the Belgian prime minister, referred to a suicide attack claimed by Islamic State that killed 22 people in Manchester on Monday.

“It’s a horrible situation…. unthinkable. But we will win,” Trump said. “We are fighting very hard, doing very well under our generals … We will win this fight.”

A senior French diplomat said Paris was ready to accept NATO joining the coalition fighting Islamic State, but that its role would be limited to training and intelligence, things allies were already involved in.

US and other European officials want to show Trump, who called NATO “obsolete” because he said it was not doing enough against terrorism, that the alliance is responding.

While Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul and bracing for an assault against its de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria, U.S. officials are concerned fleeing militants could leave a vacuum that could prompt Arab tribal fighters to turn on each other to gain control.

All 28 NATO allies are members of the coalition, but the alliance as a formal member could become more involved, contributing equipment, training and the expertise it gained leading nations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.