Wagga MP Joe McGirr has told NSW Parliament that he will not support a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying as it "goes against the sanctity of life".
In a 15-minute speech on Friday, Dr McGirr said he would not support a bill put forward by Sydney MP Alex Greenwich due to advances in palliative care and that it ran contrary to efforts to reduce rural and regional suicide and elder abuse.
Dr McGirr was one of 11 MPs to speak against the bill in Parliament on Friday, along with Liberal Albury MP Justin Clancy, Premier Dominic Perrottet and Labor Opposition Leader Chris Minns.
About 20 other MPs spoke in favour of the bill.
"This law changes how we care for others, it challenges the foundational ethics of the caring professions, but more than that, it changes society," Dr McGirr told Parliament.
"We do cross a line here; this is not about letting someone die, this is about actively taking steps to end life; it goes against the sanctity of human life.
"That no one has the right to take the life of an innocent person is a foundational principle of our society; what problem was ever solved by killing someone?"
Dr McGirr referred to a 2017 Medical Journal of Australia study that found terminal patients seeking voluntary assisted dying did so for "psychological reasons" and it was, in that way, more like "traditional suicide condoned and assisted by the medical community".
Wagga historian Geoff Burch, who lost his wife Sue to cancer in May and has campaigned for voluntary assisted dying, said he was disappointed but not surprised by Dr McGirr's decision.
"He has never given any indication that he was going to change his mind, he has always had that dogmatic approach that he didn't care what anyone else thought," Mr Burch said. "Personal beliefs, religious beliefs; he can call it whatever he wants, that's what it boils down to.
"The population overwhelmingly support it and he just decided he doesn't care what his constituents think."
Mr Burch said he was still confident that the bill would pass both houses of parliament.
In a statement released yesterday, Dr McGirr said he had considered the views of constituents.
"In representations to my office, there has been a relatively even split between people who are in favour of the legislation and those who are opposed to it," he said.
"I have carefully considered the views of constituents who have made contact with me on this issue and I want to thank all those who wrote or messaged me and especially those who gave their time to meet with me."
Nationals MLC Wes Fang and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Murray MP Helen Dalton have previously said they will support the bill.
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