Government minister Michael Ferguson has said voluntary assisted dying legislation, to be debated in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, encourages suicide.
Speaking on the bill on Monday, Mr Ferguson said he was concerned about the legislation, however, was pleased it would be genuinely considered in the Legislative Council.
He said the issue could be easily debated regardless of religious perspectives.
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“I’m very concerned about any legislation that will encourage suicide, that is what this legislation does,” Mr Ferguson said.
“As the AMA has said, this is physician-assisted suicide.
“I think the legislation has got tremendous difficulties with it, including in its technical detail.
“It’s very long, it’s very complex, it’s extremely hard to read and understand.”
Mersey independent MLC Mike Gaffney tabled the bill in the upper house recently.
He said he had offered to meet with state parliamentarians on numerous occasions and Mr Ferguson had neither requested advice or attended any of the community forums or information forums offered.
“If Minister Ferguson was having difficulty understanding the bill, he could have asked for some help,” Mr Gaffney said.
“I hope that the minister may be able to reconcile his views with those of the majority of his constituents.”
Quoting Victorian doctor Cameron McLaren, Mr Gaffney said suicide was the choice between life and death, whereas voluntary assisted dying was the choice between two deaths.
“Clause 137 of the bill explains that a person who dies as the result of administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance does not die by suicide,” he said.
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