A final vote on a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania won't take place for another two weeks, with the upper house resolving to further consider the amendments that have been made to the legislation.
Brought before the Legislative Council by independent Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney, the End of Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill has been picked apart over the course of several weeks and a number of late-night sittings.
The legislation, which consists of more than 140 clauses (some of them amended), is now set to proceed to the third reading stage on Tuesday, November 10. If it passes the Legislative Council, which is expected to occur, the bill will be tabled in the lower house.
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Early this afternoon, Mr Gaffney moved to suspend standing orders to allow the bill to progress to a third reading and thus a final vote, however the motion was not supported.
"Our role here must not be undermined by undue haste," independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest told the house.
Ms Forrest said she preferred to have additional time to consider the amendments to the bill.
Earlier, Labor Huon MLC Bastian Seidel introduced a clause to be included in the legislation stipulating that institutions or entities - such as faith-based residential care facilities - with an objection to voluntary assisted dying must transfer patients to one that does not.
"An institutional objection could have the effect of denying an individual access to VAD," he said.
"My main concern is that terminally ill patients ... may be coerced into accepting care that is not in their own best interest."
Our role here must not be undermined by undue haste.Ruth Forrest MLC
But independent Nelson MLC Meg Webb objected to the clause, saying it threatened to set a precedent for organisations to discriminate against people.
"I don't accept that we have fully understood what the implications might be in setting that precedent," she said.
"We should be ashamed of ourselves if this was to pass."
The clause was ultimately defeated.
This is the fourth time voluntary assisted dying laws have been debated in the parliament.
Members of the government in the lower house will be allowed a conscience vote on the bill if it comes before them, while all nine Labor MHAs and both Greens are expected to support it. Independent Clark MHA Madeleine Ogilvie voted against similar legislation when she was a state Labor politician in 2017, while Speaker of the House of Assembly Sue Hickey has indicated she supports voluntary assisted dying in principle.
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