NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she’s personally uncomfortable with voluntary euthanasia and doesn’t want parliament to debate the issue.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich wants voluntary assisted dying to be legalised in NSW, following the lead of Western Australia and Victoria.
He is preparing legislation for debate next year and is encouraging his parliamentary colleagues to begin discussing the matter with their constituents.
The bill would legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said the NSW cabinet will decide if it supports the bill or will allow coalition MPs a conscience vote once it sees the draft legislation.
Ms Berejiklian said she would “prefer that issue wasn’t debated given everything else we’re facing”.
“It’s a very difficult issue and I know people have very strong views either way,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
Ms Berejiklian said her personal view was that she was “uncomfortable with such a policy”.
“I would prefer it did not come forward at all, but that’s not always up to me. That’s my strong preference,” she said.
An earlier NSW bill which sought to legalise assisted dying was defeated in 2017.
Ms Berejiklian had previously assured colleagues there would be no conscience votes in 2021 after difficult debates on abortion law last year.
Mr Greenwich said he favoured the WA model, which allows access to assisted dying for those who will die within six months, or 12 months for someone with a neurodegenerative condition, when their suffering could not be relieved.
“My constituents have regularly raised with me the need for NSW to join other states in providing the option, with safeguards, for people with a painful and cruel terminal illness to die with dignity,” Mr Greenwich said earlier this month.
He acknowledged the issue was “emotive” and pledged to work with MPs from all parties throughout the deliberation process.