Member for Albury Justin Clancy has revealed he does not, in principle, support euthanasia, despite data showing Albury has the highest level of support for voluntary assisted dying of any NSW electorate.
Dying with Dignity Albury area action coordinator Sharon Potocnik said data collected by the ABC's Vote Compass in 2019 showed 83 per cent of the more than 1700 respondents from the Albury electorate supported assisted dying.
Members of the lower house of NSW Parliament will debate the issue later this year before they vote on legislation to be introduced by Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.
Mr Clancy did not say definitively how he would vote on the bill but revealed his personal view on euthanasia for the first time.
"Respectfully, in principle I am not a supporter of voluntary assisted dying legislation," he said.
"I align with Paul Keating (October 2017) when he said of the Victorian bill: 'In public life it is the principles that matter. They define the norms and values of a society and in this case the principles concern our view of human life itself. It is a mistake for legislators to act on the deeply held emotional concerns of many when that involves crossing a threshold that will affect the entire society in perpetuity'."
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Mr Clancy said he had been contacted by members on the community on both sides of the debate and would give the matter his full consideration.
"At this time of the debate I am reaching out to the community, to listen and understand the views of people holding different and conflicting perspectives, and to research the literature and Hansard from other Parliaments," he said.
"The pain is real for those who are contemplating ending their lives. Never forget that. Some find comfort in the certainty that they will be supported all the way until passing; others will find comfort in the possibility of ending their life at a time of their own choosing. I respect both views. Both views are strong in our communities. Neither is to be dismissed lightly."
Mrs Potocnik said it was imperative Mr Clancy took note of the support shown in the 2019 Vote Compass data.
"For Justin to claim to be representing the wishes of the electorate he needs to be looking at numbers like [the survey] rather than listening to possible vocal minorities," Mrs Potocnik said.
In 2017 NSW MPs voted against the introduction of voluntary assisted dying bill in the Legislative Council, 20 votes to 19. Mrs Potocnik said the outcome shows just how important every MP's vote was and encouraged people to share their views with Mr Clancy.
"The only person who really matters between now and when the bill comes up is Justin, he holds the fate of so many people in his hands," she said.
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