Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson launches vote tool on polarising issues

By late Sunday night, almost 640 people had had their say.

By late Sunday night, almost 640 people had had their say.

THE euthanasia bill might have been voted down by a very narrow margin in the NSW Upper House, but it seems Tamworth people overwhelmingly support it.

A new online tool launched by member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson indicates 80 per cent of the electorate are in support of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

His site For or Against allows people to register their opinion on an issue by simply clicking on one of two buttons and typing in their postcode.

Although the bill was defeated in the very early hours of Friday morning, people were still continuing to have their say on the site by late Sunday night.

Of 639 voters, 82 per cent of them were for the bill, and 18 per cent were against it.

‘All part of the mix’

Mr Anderson said he’d had KEO Design create the tool as “part of the mix of gauging what the electorate thinks”.

“It’s just another way that I can connect with the community, that they can have their voice heard and have access to me,” he said.

“We’ve got to look outside the square in the way we communicate, whether it be by letter, phone call, coming into the office, by email or social media ...

“The Lower House would have been given a free vote, so I could have voted however the electorate wanted me to vote; I was preparing for that to happen, but the bill was defeated.”

Mr Anderson he would continue to use the For/Against site to seek opinion on “issues like that that really impact on people’s lives; emotional issues”.

“That is, where the issues ... can be defined as a yes or a no; there are many that can’t,” he said.

“Any issue such as this or others that will polarise people yes or no, that will be a good time to use it.”

Mr Anderson said, “It still means a lot to me, six years into the job, to represent the community”.

“When there are issues such as this, I think it’s very, very important to go to the electorate.

“The people of the community are the ones who elected their representative, you’ve got to be their voice.”

Surprise

Mr Anderson said he’d been an observer during the very lengthy debate on the bill, which was introduced by Tamworth-based Member of the Legislative Council Trevor Khan but defeated 20 to 19.

He said he’d intended to vote the way Tamworth wanted him to, had the bill made it to the Lower House.

“I was in the chamber [on Friday] 12.30am, whenever it was, I was a spectator when it was defeated,” he said.

“It did interest me enormously and I wanted to listen to the debate … it certainly surprised me that it was defeated.”

The bill proposed to establish the right of terminally ill people to seek a medically qualified person’s help to end their own lives.

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