A majority of NSW Upper House members have spoken in favour of the VAD Bill bringing hope to thousands of supporters
This week, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 was allocated four hours of debate time in the NSW Legislative Council. This followed a similar allocation of debate time last week resulting in a total of 22 MLCs speaking in favour of the legislation and only 11 MLCs speaking against.
You might have seen our joint campaign with Go Gentle Australia titled ‘They Died Waiting‘ with full page ads in the major newspapers and demonstrations outside Parliament House. Hundreds of our supporters braved the elements to show our elected representatives the faces of just some of the many people who have died with terrible suffering while waiting for VAD laws to be passed in NSW.
There is no doubt that the two rallies and the full page ads helped to keep pressure on the Upper House and prevented the opponents delaying tactics.
MLC’s Positions on Voluntary Assisted Dying
The results so far are a huge relief and we are very pleased, but there are a number of hurdles yet to clear. There are still some “Second Reading” speeches to be done and then a “Second Reading” vote is required. The VAD Bill will then move to the “Committee Stage” where opponents will seek to amend the Bill in ways which would make VAD more difficult to access under the guise of making it “safer”. We saw this happen in the Lower House and expect the opponents in the Upper House to employ the same tactics.
The Parliament doesn’t sit again until 11 May but we will be making careful plans to make sure we are well-prepared.
We heard some incredibly moving and beautiful speeches from MPs who support the Bill – many have had their own experience of the death of a loved one. Others have been profoundly moved by the many stories sent to them by our supporters and the testimony given at the recent Parliamentary Inquiry.
We are so grateful for their support but we could not have reached this point without the incredible efforts of our members and supporters – their persistence in contacting MPs, their generous donations, their letters to newspapers, their organising of community stalls and so much more.
We are feeling hopeful but not complacent – we’ve learned that NSW Parliament is a very unpredictable place.