MPs vote against Tasmanian euthanasia bill

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


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.

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