BATHURST MP Paul Toole remains opposed to the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia as a cross-party working group prepares to bring a new bill before state parliament.
The group is finalising draft legislation that it intends to release for public consultation as early as next month.
It hopes to introduce its bill into the NSW Upper House for consideration in the second half of 2017 when MPs from all major parties would be granted a conscience vote.
However, opposition leader Luke Foley and retiring premier Mike Baird have both indicated they would oppose changing legislation to legalise voluntary euthanasia and Mr Toole has taken the same position.
Mr Toole said while he had great sympathy for the plight of people suffering near the end of their life, he was still worried that legalising euthanasia might bring unnecessary pressure on vulnerable and frail members of the community.
“I certainly welcome the fact it will be put to a conscience vote,” Mr Toole said.
“While there has been some talk so far there has been no legislation presented to parliament but that will happen in time.
“While I am sympathetic to people who are sick and dying and people wanting to make end of life decisions, I have still got reservations around it.”
I have still got reservations around it.Bathurst MP Paul Toole
Mr Toole said euthanasia was rarely raised with him by constituents, but he understood the strong opinions in the community.
“I very rarely have people raise the question of voluntary euthanasia with me but that’s not to say that for those families who have seen loved ones suffer for a long period of time that this is not an important issue to them,” he said.
“There will be a lot more discussion about any voluntary euthanasia bill before it makes it to the floor of parliament to be considered and there is a lot more information and different opinions that will need to be pit forward.”
The working group is comprised of Nationals MLC Trevor Khan, Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi, Labor MLC Lynda Voltz, Liberal MP Lee Evans and independent MP Alex Greenwich.