After years of controversy and debate, NSW has become the last state in Australia to pass a voluntary assisted dying legislation.
The campaign to legalise voluntary assisted dying has been fronted by many who lost loved ones who suffered great pain in their final days. MP Alex Greenwich says that this major social law reform reflects NSW “finally pass[ing] a threshold of honesty and compassion. Honesty that not all people die well, and compassion that people with advanced and cruel terminal illnesses will have the same end-of-care options as those in every other state”.
This monumental landmark in the NSW legal system means that people with a fatal diagnosis will be able to access voluntary assisted dying. Access to voluntary assisted dying is restricted to people with terminal illnesses who will die within six months, or 12 months in the case of a person with a neurodegenerative condition experiencing unbearable suffering. The person must be found to have capacity to make the decision to go ahead voluntarily without duress, and the application must be assessed by two medical practitioners.
The ratification of this law however has also attracted opposition. Finance Minister Damien Tudehope told the Upper House during the final vote that enacting this legislation would be a “dark day” for NSW.
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