Best steps up against euthanasia

A BID to give terminally ill patients the right to die in Tasmania appears doomed, with a third Labor MP expressing deep concerns including fears that it will send young people a dangerous message about suicide.

The Examiner understands Braddon Labor MHA Brenton Best will join Speaker Michael Polley and Bass Labor MHA Brian Wightman and vote against the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill when it is debated later this year.

Denison Labor MHA Graeme Sturges, who voted against previous euthanasia legislation in 2010, is also likely to vote against it, but said yesterday he was keeping an open mind and listening to the views of his electorate.

More than 600 submissions from the public have been received in response to a discussion paper on the model proposed by Greens leader Nick McKim and Premier Lara Giddings, which will form the basis of a private members bill.

All parties are expected to give MPs a conscience vote on the legislation and, unless Liberal MPs vote in favour, thought to be extremely unlikely, it faces defeat 14 to 10.

Mr Best said he would need to be convinced the argument for euthanasia had changed since 2010.

"I'd need to be convinced that it's needed - I'm not sure it is because there's pretty good palliative care."

Mr Best sat on the 2009 committee investigating the dying with dignity bill proposed then by Mr McKim.

"There was no evidence that was presented at the time that people could not die with dignity (with palliative care)."

He was also concerned that the system would be open to abuse and send the wrong message to young people.

"More than anything, I worry about what it says to young people. I know that's an extreme view but I do," Mr Best said.

Mr Best said he had been lobbied heavily on the issue and the vast majority of feedback had urged him to reject the legislation.

While some Liberal MPs may consider themselves in favour of euthanasia, they are likely to argue the model proposed is not the right one.

A Liberal Party insider said: "It is unlikely that the bill will receive any support from the Liberals when it comes on for debate in the House of Assembly."


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