MPs demand Premier torpedo euthanasia bid
It's "not government policy" to have a bill to legalise euthanasia come before the parliament next year, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said.
The Premier, facing pressure from inside her own ranks to torpedo a bid to legalise assisted dying, has declared she would "prefer" a bill isn't introduced to parliament.
"It's not government policy and I would prefer that issue wasn't debated, given everything else we're facing," Ms Berejiklian said.
The comments were seen by one senior Minister as a warning for party members not to agitate on the issue.
But following the statements, backbenchers who oppose assisted dying have strengthened calls for the Premier to rule out the party allowing a conscience vote on the matter.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich intends to have legislation to legalise euthanasia drafted for public consultation six months from now but doesn't intend to introduce the bill until there is appetite for it to be debated in parliament.
"I agree with the Premier that the pandemic is the priority," he said on Tuesday.
"I'm completely open minded as to when parliament has the debate and I'm certainly not going to rush this on colleagues."
Multiple Liberal MPs want the Premier to move to kill off any bid to legalise euthanasia by indicating the party would vote against the bill in parliament.
They have called on Ms Berejiklian to "honour" a "commitment" they say she made at the height of the bruising abortion debate, that there would be no further conscience votes in this term of parliament.
One MP said the Premier needed to "be as strong as she can to rule (a conscience vote) out".
But one senior Minister saw the Premier's comments as a bid to calm tensions in the government.
"She has now made it clear to both the backbench and the community that this is not government policy," the Minister said.
"It's a legitimate debate but not at this time."
The Minister did not believe the Premier would condone a conscience vote on the issue.
Originally published as MPs demand Premier torpedo euthanasia bid