Gus Batley has seen hundreds of people die.
The Anglican minister has served as Tamworth hospital's chaplain for ten years.
Some of his hardest work takes place in the hospital's six-bed Nioka Ward, the hospital's palliative care unit, attending to the religious needs of the dying.
"I've had the privilege of being at the bedside of Christians and atheists, and Buddhists and Muslims, people who identify as gay and lesbian, people who don't know where they stand on things," he said.
"I take it that I'm the visitor in the room and I'm stepping onto their turf. When a person goes into hospital their world shrinks. Their world becomes the bed, the tray table and the bathroom.
"It's challenging, but it's also an immense privilege."
He's seen people resolve decades-long conflicts in their families in their last week on earth, and sort out their relationship with God minutes before meeting him.
You might expect Mr Batley to support a push to end laws stopping the dying from choosing when they go.
Quite the opposite.
In fact, he's concerned a new bill designed to legalise and regulate euthanasia will undermine trust in the work of the state's palliative care unit, if it wins the support of NSW parliament.
Euthanasia would dehumanise death care, he said.
"I do think when something like that is put into legislation it signals to the community a change in attitude to what death is and to how we die," he said.
The battle over the bill is set to heat up in coming weeks, with Independent MP Alex Greenwich to introduce his Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in NSW Parliament on Thursday.
Nationals MPs will be given a conscience vote on the bill.
Both Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall have reported very strong support for the proposed legislation in the community, during their consultation process.
"The biggest risk of this bill is that people would feel like hospital wasn't a safe place for them," he said.
If the bill does pass, the Uniting Church will face a powerful dilemma.
Outside government, the church is Australia's largest aged-care provider.
Reverend Hansford said the church will be put in a difficult position when their first resident asks to die.
He's also concerned about the lot of minority groups like Indigenous Australians, disabled people and people in rural or remote areas, groups he said haven't been heard from in the debate over the bill.
"There is no question in my mind that the legislation seeks to be fair and just and safe. But I think the long term implications of something like this, we can't foresee. And there are risks involved in this kind of bill that will take some time, perhaps decades, to emerge," he said.
NSW is the last state in Australia to debate euthanasia legislation.
A record 28 politicians from government, opposition and third parties have agreed to sponsor the bill, demonstrating that it has bipartisan support.
Lobby group Dying With Dignity presented politicians with a 100,000 signature petition in favour of the bill on Tuesday.
Powerful national elder care not-for-profit the Older Persons Advocacy Network threw its support behind the bill on Thursday.
Its CEO Craig Grear said the bill has appropriate safeguards to ensure people can die as they choose without pressure by anyone else.
"Voluntary assisted dying is not a choice someone makes to end their life, but a choice about how they want their life to end," he said.
Go Gentle Australia CEO Kiki Paul said people in New South Wales should have the same choice in how to end their life as people in other states.
"The New South Wales parliament must listen to the voices of people who are terminally ill and the majority of the community who are calling for the introduction of a [voluntary assisted dying] law with strong safeguards," she said.
Only adults diagnosed with a terminal illness which will kill them within six months, or doomed to die of a neurodegenerative disorder within a year, would be eligible to die under the bill. Their death would also require approval by two doctors with special training in the field.
A bid for a similar bill failed in the Legislative Council four years ago.
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