TASMANIAN Greens leader Nick McKim has called on supporters of voluntary euthanasia to lobby their MPs before parliament returns to debate the proposed legislation later this month.
In a letter posted on his Facebook page, Mr McKim, who co- sponsored the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill with Premier Lara Giddings, said supporters of the legislation were at risk of being out-gunned by conservative groups opposed to the change.
"As you read this, conservative and religious groups who oppose voluntary euthanasia are mobilising armies of lobbyists and letter writers to pressure Lower House members to vote against the Bill," Mr McKim said.
"The problem is that people like us - the majority who want a compassionate change - often tend to just have faith that our decision makers in parliament will make what we think is the right call based on the facts."
Margaret Singh, spokeswoman for Dying with Dignity Tasmania, echoed the call and said the group was struggling to get its message out because even the name of the legislation was censored out of TV ads.
However, University of Tasmania lecturer Dr Nick Cooling said opponents of the legislation were not running a co-ordinated campaign but rather were trying to have a discussion about potential risks.
Dr Cooling, a member of anti-euthanasia group Real Dignity Tasmania, said Tasmania should conduct proper research into palliative care, terminal disease and death to demonstrate there was an objective need for the laws before enacting them.
"Even though this may benefit a small number of people who are suffering [to] feel they have the right to decide the manner of their death, it has wider implications for the community and the ethics of how we deal with severe and terminal illness," he said.
Dr Cooling said experience showed people sometimes sought the option as reassurance to cope with their fear of death.
The proposed legislation would allow people with a terminal or progressive illness who experience unrelievable, intolerable suffering to be administered lethal drugs after a ten-day request and safe-checking process.