Focus on assisted dying bill
TWEED MP Geoff Provest will be voting in support of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 when it is presented to the New South Wales Parliament in coming weeks.
The bipartisan bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council in the next fortnight, with members of the major parties to be given a conscience vote on the issue.
If passed, it will move to the Lower House, where Mr Provest will get a chance to have his say on the issue he holds close to his heart after watching his father die 15 years ago suffering from cancer.
“I watched my father go downhill rapidly,” he said.
“One day he would know who I was, the next day he would ask who I was.
“He was the old-style school teacher that wore the sports coat and the tie even in 50 degrees heat. He was a stickler in presentation and correctness and he would have absolutely hated it.
“We were quite happy that we knew, with increased morphine, he would only have a few weeks left.”
Described by commentators as one of the most “conservative” pieces of legislation governing the issue, the bill lays out very specific guidelines about who may be eligible.
If passed, it would allow terminally ill NSW residents aged 25 or older to end their lives with medical assistance. However, a patient must be able to prove they are likely to die within 12 months, with the decision to be signed off by two medical practitioners and an
❝I watched my father go downhill rapidly...
— Geoff Provest
independent psychiatrist or psychologist to verify the patient is of sound mind.
“You need to be able to demonstrate that you have really lost your quality of life, so there are a number of safeguards in there,” Mr Provest said.
Mr Provest said he had been guided by the opinion of former Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council head Dr Ian Mcphee, who is a strong supporter of voluntary assisted dying.
Turn to page 17 for more on Dr Ian Mcphee’s story.