TASMANIAN MPs have been asked to place personal suffering above politics in considering proposed voluntary euthanasia legislation.
Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim tabled the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in Parliament yesterday.
Both said the legislation was intended to provide an option of last resort for the very ill and protected those people from exploitation.
``This is not open-slather, there are many safeguards within it, many elements to it that will ensure it is restricted to a few people in the community,'' Ms Giddings said.
The proposal would allow a person who is suffering from an incurable and irreversible medical condition, that is causing persistent non-relievable suffering and would result in their death, or a progressive medical condition that is causing persistent non-relievable intolerable suffering, to ask to end their life.
They would be required to wait 10 days between making the initial verbal request and the fatal drugs being administered. They would have to make a written request and receive a second medical opinion in that time.
Ms Giddings said no one, including medical professionals, would be compelled to take part.
The option would only exist for Tasmanian residents and those able to give informed consent - meaning those with impaired cognitive ability like severe dementia patients could not access it.
Anti-euthanasia group Real Dignity Tasmania said no number of safeguards would be sufficient. ``It is simply impossible to protect vulnerable sick people from the subtle pressures brought to bear on them when assisted suicide or euthanasia becomes a valid ``treatment'' option,'' spokesman Nick Cooling said.
Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous said voluntary euthanasia had been abused in other jurisdictions.
Dying with Dignity Tasmania's Margaret Singh said an EMRS poll commissioned last week showed 80 per cent of Tasmanians supported voluntary euthanasia, and 62 per cent strongly agreed. She said the proposed laws were only expected to be accessed by the 5 per cent of people whose suffering could not be relieved through palliative care, which in Tasmania is about eight or nine people a year.