wait a moment

Euthanasia Senate debate set to continue

From the assisted suicide of a father to the tragic death of another senator’s fiancee, federal politicians have weighed in on an emotional parliamentary debate.

Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm’s private bill to lift a 1997 ban on the ACT and Northern Territory legislating on euthanasia will again be top priority in the upper house on Wednesday.

Senator Leyonhjelm is confident of having the numbers to progress the bill through the Senate, but it appears unlikely to be voted on in the lower house.

Debate kicked off on Tuesday, with senators remembering deaths of terminally ill loved ones.

Greens senator Nick McKim said his father died by euthanasia in a Tasmanian palliative care ward last year.

“I thanked the medical professionals profoundly from the bottom of my heart for killing my father,” Senator McKim told parliament.

“He wanted it, he was lucid, he was rational and it was the right thing to do based on compassion and humanity.”

One Nation’s Peter Georgiou said with a heavy heart he couldn’t support the bill despite his own heartbreaking experience.

In 2003, his fiancee died after battling a rare form of cancer for several years.

“She took her last breath and found her peace. Witnessing this was by far the most gut-wrenching and painful experience of my life,” Senator Georgiou said.

He’d prefer to see palliative care improved than assisted suicide legalised, noting concerns about safeguards in euthanasia laws.

ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja is a staunch opponent of the bill.

“The passage of this bill will inevitably lead to assisted suicide in the ACT and almost certainly with minimal safeguards,” he said.

ACT Labor’s David Smith opposes voluntary euthanasia, citing risks for the vulnerable but will back Senator Leyonhjelm’s legislation because he supports territories’ rights.

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said Kevin Andrews’ 1997 bill had created two classes of citizens across states and territories.

She’s supporting Senator Leyonhjelm’s legislation but her partyroom colleague Pat Dodson will vote against it.

Source Link