Upper house

NSW Gathering of Assisted Dying Advocates | the islander

Volunteer advocates for assisted dying will rally in NSW Parliament as legislation allowing terminally ill people to die on their own terms stalls.

The controversial bill would give people with a terminal illness who are expected to live less than 12 months the right to hasten their death.

The legislation passed the lower house last year by a margin of 20 votes and is due to be debated in the upper house on Wednesday, but there are fears that the time allotted to debate the bill may be insufficient.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich said only two and a half hours had been set aside for MLCs to discuss the matter.

“It’s not enough time for everyone to contribute to the debate for it to come close to a vote,” he told 2GB.

“We’ve had all kinds of political games going on…delays have been thrown at us,” he said.

Dying with Dignity NSW and Go Gentle Australia published full-page newspaper advertisements on Wednesday urging the upper house not to drag its feet on the bill.

Dying with dignity NSW Speaker Penny Hackett wants the upper house to allocate extra time, such as sitting on Fridays, otherwise the bill could drag on until the end of the year or longer.

“In the meantime, more people will continue to die in extreme suffering and excruciating pain because the government is playing games,” she said.

“We have already lost Judith Daley – who stood before Parliament last year asking the Lower House to deal with the Bill as a matter of urgency. They have done so. Now is the time for the Upper House to do the same.

“There’s no reason why we can’t assign Friday as an extra sitting day to give this bill enough time for debate,” she said.

If the bill passes, NSW will become the last Australian state to allow voluntary assisted death.

Australian Associated Press