A LOCAL mayor is calling for more community consultation on a draft bill to make euthanasia legal in NSW.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey is urging Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson to host town hall meetings, information sessions and online surveys to gauge the community's views ahead of a likely lower house debate on the NSW voluntary assisted dying bill.
The issue was raised at the council's ordinary meeting on Wednesday night, when a motion was unanimously supported that the mayor pen the request to the MP.
"There have been concerns raised in the past by residents of the Gunnedah shire, that consultation on matters of critical importance has not been anywhere near adequate," Mr Chaffey said.
"The role of a member of parliament is to represent the majority of views of his or her electorate and must be accountable for their decisions and actions to the public."
But, the mayor said his motion is not taking a position on the proposed legislation, simply "advocating for extensive community consultation on behalf of the community".
The topic sparked some debate among fellow councillors, with one declaring it should be up to each individual to make their own decision on the matter.
"I don't believe politicians should be making decisions like this, this is something that each individual has the right to decide on themselves and take to these politicians," Cr Colleen Fuller said.
But Kevin Anderson's office has assured the community that a thorough community consultation campaign will be undertaken, "as has been done previously".
"When the Abortion Law Reform Act of 2019 came to the Lower House, Mr Anderson undertook thorough community consultation which included electronic surveys, email blasts and advertising to encourage written responses, as well as an extensive media awareness campaign across radio, television and print," a spokesperson said.
Mr Anderson has a "proven track record of undertaking thorough community consultation any time bill comes to the lower house that may be considered contentious in the local community, and will again do so," he said.
The bill, introduced by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, will be debated when parliament resumes next month.
In 2017, Victoria became the first Australian state to pass assisted dying laws, while they also came into effect in WA in July 2021. A bill of a similar nature was also introduced to Queensland parliament in May.
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