Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

2 December 2020

Sarah Courtney, Liberal Member for Bass

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

I have written to the Clerk of the House of Assembly informing him of my intention to take carriage of the End-Of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 as Member for Bass, when it is debated tomorrow.

I acknowledge that many in our community, and in our Parliament, have deep convictions and strongly held views on this matter. It is my intention to debate this proposed Bill with sensitivity and to help ensure, should the Bill pass, that Tasmania has the most robust law and appropriate system possible.

As outlined by the Premier on 10 November, I intend to adjourn debate on the Bill at the conclusion of the Second Reading debate. I will then move to resume debate as the first order of business for the House when Parliament resumes next year.

I note that the Premier has granted a conscience vote to members of the Parliamentary Liberal Party on this matter. I am proud to be a member of a Party that provides for members to be able to debate matters such as this, according to their conscience. I am disappointed that this is not the case for all Tasmanian parliamentarians, and is a clear distinction from other political parties who are not providing their members with the same opportunity, in this case.

To be clear, the Government does not have a policy with regards to this Bill. I am therefore taking carriage of this Bill as a Member for Bass, not Minister for Health.

I thank the many members of the community who have written to me on this important matter. It is clear that voluntary assisted dying is a significant issue for the Tasmanian community, and I look forward to the opportunity to speak and vote on the proposed legislation.

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