'It’s a fairly conservative bill and really it had to be': Donato

SEPTEMBER is fast becoming a month for postal surveys, with member for Orange Phil Donato also taking the temperature of public opinion, this time involving euthanasia.

Mr Donato has issued flyers in the post to all constituents including a sealable reply-paid slip, asking whether they support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

If passed by the state government in the coming months, the bill would allow those aged 25 and older, who are suffering from a terminal illness, to seek euthanasia.

The patient must be at risk of death within a year and they must be experiencing severe pain or physically incapacitated. 

Alternative options must be provided and if the patient wishes to proceed, they must be assessed by their primary doctor, a secondary specialist and a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Mr Donato said some MPs had encouraged discussion on social media, but he felt post was the best way of reaching all demographics. 

“It’s a contentious, controversial and sensitive issue and I’ve had a number of people approach me, both supporting it and opposing it,” he said. 

“What I personally believe might not be reflected in the electorate, so it’s part of engaging them and getting the feedback.”

Mr Donato said the flyer included detail on the safeguards and a link to the full bill.

“It’s a fairly conservative bill on such a matter and really it had to be to get support from the community,” he said.

The bill, formed by a committee of government and opposition MPs, will come to the upper house first.

Bev Alexander-Fisher formerly co-ordinated the Orange branch of Dying With Dignity and welcomed Mr Donato’s effort.

“It’s the best of all the different bills that have gone through – I think there’s more safeguards with it,” she said.

“It’s not about killing people, it’s giving people the option if they are at the end stage of life and feel they can’t manage – people say we’ve got palliative care, but it sometimes doesn’t work.”