The Legislative Council has passed a bill that could ultimately make Tasmania the third state in Australia to enact voluntary assisted dying laws.
Brought before the Legislative Council by independent Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney, the End of Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill has been debated over several weeks and a number of late-night sittings.
The legislation consists of more than 140 clauses, many of which have been amended in the course of the parliamentary debate.
Mr Gaffney was emotional today as he delivered a speech in the upper house prior to the vote.
"After a very long road, I have done my job and so have the honourable members, my colleagues and my friends in this chamber," he said through tears. "I'm so proud how we have worked and showcased our parliament to the rest of the world."
"To Tasmanians who may be listening who may seek assessment for the VAD process in the future, I hope that this legislation, most importantly, allows comfort and solace for the challenges that lay ahead of you."
Mr Gaffney also paid tribute to his family and his staff for all their support and said the fact that his bill had progressed so far was a "pinch me moment".
"I encourage ... members of the House of Assembly to sensitively and effectively progress this legislation in a timely manner so that all Tasmanians who have been invested in this journey ... can take pride in the parliament of Tasmania," he said.
But Premier Peter Gutwein told the lower house this morning that a final vote on the legislation won't occur until February or March next year, and that debate on it was expected to commence on December 3, with the House of Assembly to sit an additional day on December 4 to ensure the initial debate can be completed.
Labor leader Rebecca White and Greens leader Cassy O'Connor both expressed disappointment that the matter would not be resolved sooner.
The Premier has asked the University of Tasmania to establish an independent review panel to comb through the amended bill and give advice to members of parliament before further debate commences next year.
It was a move welcomed by anti-voluntary assisted dying group Live and Die Well, which said it was "wonderful" that interest groups would be able to make submissions to an "independent and transparent review panel".