The euthanasia debate has intensified in the Australian state of New South Wales, with reports from parliamentarians indicating that new legislation is imminent.
A euthanasia bill is expected to be introduced in New South Wales by the end of 2017, with a cross-parliamentary working group currently finalising draft legislation for public consultation.
The state’s new premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is yet to express her views on the issue, though Opposition Leader Luke Foley said earlier this month that he is opposed to euthanasia.
“I worry about the message it sends to a society where some old and frail people feel that they are too much of a burden on their loved ones, that they have to end it all,” Mr Foley said.
In a statement the parliamentary working group said that “law reform on the issue of assisted dying is necessary.”
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, Australian Catholic University academic Julie Morgan, who herself is terminally ill, said that she “can imagine a time when particularly frail and vulnerable people will succumb to the thought that it might be best for their families and for society in general for them to let go and die”.
Sydney palliative care specialist Linda Sheahan has called for an open and honest debate: “It’s crucial we engage with this incredibly important issue in a deep and reflective, robust way”.