Dying with dignity debate reignited by euthanasia bill

EUTHANASIA is in to the national spotlight again, with Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm putting forward a private member’s bill on the controversial issue.

Tamworth-based MLC Trevor Khan is a vocal supporter of euthanasia and introduced a bill to legalise it in NSW last year, which was narrowly defeated. He said euthanasia had “very strong support” in regional NSW.

“It’s not the niche lefty-issue that some people are portraying it as,” Mr Khan said

“On the ground, it’s actually the complete reverse. It’s often older people from conservative backgrounds, who have experiences people they know and love go through a tough end.

“You only have to go through it once to know some people have tough ends. I experienced it first hand with my father.”

Inverell-based Nationals senator John Williams said he would not be supporting Senator Leyonhjelm’s bill.

“I believe where there is life there is hope,” Senator Williams said.

New England MP Barnaby Joyce was contacted but did not respond to questions.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he had a personal assurance from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that if the Senate agreed to provide time for debate, his party would allow a free vote.

“As a Liberal Democrat I believe in the right of individuals to end their lives painlessly at a time of their choosing, as do the majority of Australians,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“The Commonwealth should mind its own business on this issue and remove legal impediments to states and territories establishing their own euthanasia legislation.”

Mr Khan said if euthanasia was to be legalised, there would be plenty of checks and balances, such as being checked off by multiple doctors.

“All the cases we are talking about involve terminal-ill patients with limited life expectancy,” he said.