Labor Senator Jenny McAllister spoke with tears about her two grandmothers, who both died after long battles with dementia.
“This experience has certainly shaped my own views on the end of life and the way we support those who are dying,” Senator McAllister told parliament on Tuesday.
Although she acknowledged that the bill to parliament concerned territorial rights, she expressed her support for voluntary death assistance in certain circumstances.
Senator from the Green Party Sarah Hanson-Young was also moved to tears when she remembered her friend and mother of two Susie, who died of breast cancer.
“I hope that these two little girls, in addition to Susie’s pain and suffering, can remember her as a loving, healthy and active mother, whom she was long before she fell ill,” said Senator Hanson-Young.
Conservative Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has spoken out against David Leonheim’s private bill.
“This shows a complete disregard for the common basic ethical foundations of our society, where every single life is valued,” said the Tasmanian senator.
ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselj will also vote against if he addresses the lower house.
He fears it will lead to suicide with minimal safeguards that will become legal in the ACT.
Senator Leonhelm believes his bill has enough support to pass, but it will still require the approval of the lower house before becoming a law that seems unlikely.
U.S. Sen. John Williams said he was offended by the term “die with dignity.”
He recalled his father’s death from cancer at home, saying he supported making people’s last days comfortable with drugs.
“I believe that where there is life, there is hope,” said Senator Williams.
Green Sen. Janet Rice and Labor MP Sue Lines spoke in support of the bill, and told stories of loved ones who died from the disease.
Senator Leonhelm’s legislation aims to repeal a successful private bill by Liberal MP Kevin Andrews in 1997, which bans territories from deciding on voluntary euthanasia.
Mr Andrews says he has been assured by the head of government, Christopher Pine, that the bill will not be voted in the hall.
Labor wants a joint parliamentary committee to investigate the bill if it passes through the Senate, and the scope of the agency will be determined after it is passed.
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