Emotions high as assisted dying bill lands

Christian Democrat Fred Nile has come out against the bill. Source: AAP

Nationals MP Trevor Khan has delivered an emotional speech while introducing voluntary assisted dying laws to the NSW parliament.

One of the key players behind a push to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives has delivered an emotional speech while introducing the bill to the NSW parliament.

Nationals MP Trevor Khan, who is among those driving the cross-party bill, said far too many terminally ill patients were faced with bleak options and were dying in untreatable pain, suffering and distress.

Mr Khan said for himself and so many others, the issue was deeply personal.

"Too many of us have watched or cared for a loved one with a debilitating illness and seen them die a horrible and undignified death," he told parliament on Thursday.

Mr Khan became emotional as he described the plight of former speech pathologist Annie Gabrielides - the public face of the dying with dignity campaign - who suffers from motor neurone disease.

The 53-year-old has been left gasping for breath, cannot control her hands, and faces being trapped inside her body with the same intellect but unable to communicate, feed herself, clean or toilet herself, or move.

"Terminally ill people at the final stages of their life, like Annie Gabrielides, will be able to die on their own terms at a time and place of their choosing," Mr Khan said.

"No longer would terminally ill people have to fear an agonising or violent end to their lives, in the knowledge this option is available to them, should they choose."

A person who wanted to die would need to be at least 25 years old, be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia and ordinary resident of NSW, and have less than 12 months to live.

A raft of safeguards and sanctions designed to protect against coercion and elder abuse are outlined in the bill, alongside protections for those who provide assistance.

Mr Khan said the legislation followed a conservative model developed in the US state of Oregon, not voluntary euthanasia schemes available in some European countries.

The Oregon laws had been in place 20 years and accounted for less than one half of one per cent of deaths in that state, Mr Khan said, as he dispelled fears of intended consequences or a so-called slippery slope.

The laws are expected to be debated by the NSW parliament later this year and decided by a conscience vote.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley has joined Premier Gladys Berejiklian in confirming he will oppose the bill.

"Personally, I will vote against. I oppose the state sanctioning the taking of human life. Opposed to capital punishment & euthanasia," he tweeted on Thursday.

Source AAP

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