Nat minister to decide fate of euthanasia law
The vote of the deputy leader of the NSW Nationals, Niall Blair, is shaping as the one that will decide whether the state’s upper house passes euthanasia laws tomorrow.
“No” campaigners believed they had done enough to secure the votes of National MP Richard Colless and Liberal Scot Macdonald yesterday, taking the Yes-No vote situation to 19-19 with only Mr Blair not declaring his hand.
A spokeswoman for Mr Blair repeated yesterday the Primary Industries Minister would wait for the debate before making a decision on which way to vote.
But the “No” campaign believes there is much more chance of killing the bill in the lower house in a vote next week, should Mr Blair vote ‘‘Yes’’ with most of his Nationals colleagues.
Numbers done by The Australian yesterday had the ‘‘No’’ vote in the 93-seat lower house at 42 with the ‘‘Yes’’ vote at 34, with 13 undecided and four MPs unable to be contacted.
Several ministers declared they were undecided yesterday, including Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Police Minister Troy Grant.
In the ‘‘No’’ camp is Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Labor leader Luke Foley, Labor deputy leader Michael Daley and ministers Pru Goward, Mark Speakman and Gabrielle Upton.
In the ‘‘Yes’’ camp is Deputy Premier John Barilaro and a majority of country-based MPs, who have surveyed their electorates and found overwhelming support for Nationals MP Trevor Khan’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
Mr Barilaro said he had wrestled hard with his decision to support the legislation, including with his Christian faith, but it was his role to be the voice of his community in the parliament.
Finance Minister Victor Dominello and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey are leaning towards voting ‘‘Yes’’ while ministers Anthony Roberts and David Elliott are in the ‘‘No’’ camp.
Labor Treasury spokesman Ryan Park said he would support the legislation. Some MPs last night indicated they might change their minds on the vote depending on whether there were more strict amendments of the conditions around where euthanasia could be applied.