HIGH-PROFILE right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke will be in Tasmania this week for what he has described as the first serious bid to legalise voluntary euthanasia in Australia since the short-lived world-first Northern Territory laws were passed in 1996.
The director of Exit International has adopted a low profile in the lead-up to this week's debate on proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation, but yesterday said he was keen to watch what is expected to be a close conscience vote.
While other parliaments have considered the issue, Dr Nitschke said the bill co-sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim, was the first one to have a real chance of success.
``We haven't seen a case like this where where we have had a leader of the government pursuing it,'' Dr Nitschke said.
``It puts it into a unique position.''
Dr Nitschke, who will also launch his autobiography in Hobart on Thursday, assisted four terminally ill patients to die under Northern Territory laws before they were overturned by the federal government in 1997.
Ms Giddings and Mr McKim's bid to legalise voluntary euthanasia is expected to fail with Labor MHAs Michael Polley, Brenton Best, Brian Wightman and Graeme Sturges, plus all 10 Liberals expected to vote no.
Yesterday, Mr McKim said the result would hinge on a ``couple of votes either way''.
Mr McKim hoped Liberal MHAs would be free to use their conscience vote.
``It would beggar belief if something that had 80 per cent community support received 100 per cent opposition from a political party in the Parliament. Let's wait and see,'' Mr McKim said.
Christian groups have campaigned strongly against the proposed laws with FamilyVoice Australia identifying ``13 fatal flaws''.
The group fears the laws would be open to abuse and make Tasmania a centre of death tourism.
Liberal leader Will Hodgman will not support the legislation, but said his colleagues were free to make up their own mind.