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End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) 2020 Bill Debate

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Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 2 December 2020 End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) 2020 Bill Debate The matter of voluntary assisted dying is complex, often conflicted and needs to be given well-informed consideration. It is a matter that needs to be handled with the utmost care and compassion. The responsibility of whether this legislation […]

Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 2 December 2020

End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) 2020 Bill Debate

The matter of voluntary assisted dying is complex, often conflicted and needs to be given well-informed consideration.

It is a matter that needs to be handled with the utmost care and compassion.

The responsibility of whether this legislation passes into law will rest with this House and as I have previously said, that is a responsibility which bears considerable weight on all Members of the House.

Debate on the End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) 2020 Bill will commence tomorrow and Sarah Courtney as the Member for Bass, not as a Government Minister, will have carriage of the Bill.

In order to provide an opportunity for all Members to contribute, and for them to express their intent on the legislation, the Parliament will sit an additional day this Friday to enable the second reading speech and related debate to occur.

Should the Bill pass its second reading on Friday, to ensure sufficient time is provided through the Committee stage with the agreement of the House, the Bill will become the first order of business for the House when the Parliament resumes next year.

I have advised previously that I have requested the University of Tasmania establish an Independent Review Panel to consider the legislation and to provide members with information regarding how this legislation compares to similar laws in other States and around the world.

The focus of consideration being the protections in place for those most vulnerable in our society, and the Terms of Reference will be available later today on the University of Tasmania’s website.

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The University, independent from Government, have selected their panel with members from the University across a range of relevant disciplines: Panel Chair, Professor Richard Eccleston, Professor Fran McInerney, Professor Marg Otlowski and Associate Professor, Jenny Presser.

The Review Panel’s findings will be provided to all Members of Parliament later in February next year, and it is the Government’s intention that the Committee stage of the Bill will commence shortly thereafter, as the first order of business upon the resumption of Parliament, subject to the agreement of the House.

To be clear, it is not the Government’s intention to delay the implementation of the legislation by postponing the committee stage to early next year.

This will allow sufficient time for our Government agencies to provide advice on implementation of the Bill, as well as for the University to complete their independent review, including seeking stakeholder submissions on the Bill as it is now presented.

It is my intention that should the Bill pass its second reading in the House of Assembly, that an amendment to the Bill be moved during the committee stage which if supported will denote the effective start date for the 18 month time period as the end of the second reading debate in this house.

The consideration of this legislation is a very significant responsibility. We owe it to all Tasmanians to ensure that we treat this very important matter, and the views shared, with the utmost respect.


Media release – Sarah Courtney, Liberal Member for Bass, 2 December 2020

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Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

I have written to the Clerk of the House of Assembly informing him of my intention to take carriage of the End-Of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 as Member for Bass, when it is debated tomorrow.

I acknowledge that many in our community, and in our Parliament, have deep convictions and strongly held views on this matter. It is my intention to debate this proposed Bill with sensitivity and to help ensure, should the Bill pass, that Tasmania has the most robust law and appropriate system possible.

As outlined by the Premier on 10 November, I intend to adjourn debate on the Bill at the conclusion of the Second Reading debate. I will then move to resume debate as the first order of business for the House when Parliament resumes next year.

I note that the Premier has granted a conscience vote to members of the Parliamentary Liberal Party on this matter. I am proud to be a member of a Party that provides for members to be able to debate matters such as this, according to their conscience. I am disappointed that this is not the case for all Tasmanian parliamentarians, and is a clear distinction from other political parties who are not providing their members with the same opportunity, in this case.

To be clear, the Government does not have a policy with regards to this Bill. I am therefore taking carriage of this Bill as a Member for Bass, not Minister for Health.

I thank the many members of the community who have written to me on this important matter. It is clear that voluntary assisted dying is a significant issue for the Tasmanian community, and I look forward to the opportunity to speak and vote on the proposed legislation.

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Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2020/12/end-of-life-choices-voluntary-assisted-dying-2020-bill-debate/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=end-of-life-choices-voluntary-assisted-dying-2020-bill-debate

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