NSW closer to passing assisted dying laws

NSW is a step closer to becoming the last state to legalise voluntary assisted dying with parliament’s upper house set to debate the contentious bill next month.

An upper house inquiry tabled its report into the controversial bill on Tuesday, which would give terminally ill people, expected to live for less than 12 months, the right to expedite their death.

If the bill passes NSW will become the final Australian state to allow voluntary assisted dying.

Labor MLC Adam Searle, who has carriage of the bill into the upper house, will give his second reading speech in support of the bill on Wednesday.

“This is about preventing avoidable suffering for those who are dying by giving them control and choice,” Mr Searle said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.

The bill will be debated in the upper house in late March.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich said he hoped the bill would have majority support in the upper house.

“And I hope that the mandate the legislative assembly provided (in November) to pass the bill does occur,” he said on Tuesday.

Two Liberal MPs and one Labor MP dissented, saying the proposal is unsafe and shouldn’t be debated.

Some 75 witnesses were consulted during the inquiry into the bill, along with 39,000 people responding to an online questionnaire.

Of those respondents, about 70 per cent supported the bill and 30 per cent were opposed.

Dying with Dignity NSW is calling on the Legislative Council to treat the reform as a matter of urgency.