Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 - Debate

25th November 2021

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (19:48): I appreciate the member for Riverstone at least conceding that this may not be the best amendment. We agree. That is one of the reasons why the member for Sydney and his team have had such an open door policy for people to advance proposed amendments and come in to talk to them. Every member has the right to hold on to their amendments and move them whenever they want, but if we are talking in good faith about trying to improve the legislation, those opportunities should clearly be taken up. It is not just a problem with the member for Riverstone's amendments. When the member for Riverstone has the most amendments, it is not a surprise that they represent the largest bulk of opposed amendments on this side of the House.

This is such an unreasonable and unconscionable position to be in for somebody who is applying for voluntary assisted dying. They are at the worst stage of their life and are trying to make their end of life better. They will have gone through a process that has had so much oversight and so much involvement with medical professionals, and that process that will continue to have oversight. The amendment seeks to judge if that person has the capacity to make that administrative decision, and then, for whatever reason, delay them for seven days. After seven days it is all off and they are back to square one. Do not worry about the fact that this person has limited time left already and they are suffering physically and emotionally, and from anxiety. Do not worry that they have friends and family they are trying to accommodate in this as well. A clear decision will have been made that they have decision-making capacity.

If the process does not advance within seven days, this amendment proposes that they go back to the start—just like a game of snakes and ladders. That is unconscionable. I am sorry. This could have been a better amendment. I do not know what the amendment could have been. The member for Sydney's door has been open for a long time so it is unreasonable to complain when those amendments are knocked over one by one because there has not been consultation on them.

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