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Legislation allowing eligible New South Wales residents to choose to end their own life is now law after a marathon debate.

NSW is the last state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying laws after the bill was ratified in the Lower House today – though both the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are forbidden from legislating on it.

The NSW Upper House held a marathon debate overnight with nearly 100 amendments put forward.

A voluntary assisted dying bill has passed NSW parliament. (Brook Mitchell)

One further amendment was debated today, followed by a final vote, which saw the bill pass 23 votes to 15.

It then returned to the Lower House, where it was ratified.

Dying with Dignity NSW President Penny Hackett called it a “historic moment”.

The bill allows people to end their own life only if they are aged 18 or over, have the mental capacity to make the decision and have a terminal illness with death expected within six months or 12 months for neurological conditions.

It was introduced by Sydney independent MP Alex Greenwich.

Queensland was the most recent state in Australia to have passed assisted dying laws, with the bill passing parliament last year.

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich will introduce the voluntary assisted dying bill on Thursday.
Sydney MP Alex Greenwich introduced the voluntary assisted dying bill. (James Brickwood)

However, the legislation will not take effect until 2023.

Last July, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced the death of the state’s first person under its assisted dying laws, which had only come into effect that month after being passed in 2019.

Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia have passed similar legislation.

However, Tasmania’s and South Australia’s laws are not yet in effect after getting through parliament last year.

The voluntary assisted dying bill has been raised in NSW Parliament today.
The bill has only permits eligible people to undergo the procedure. (Nick Moir)

It’s expected Tasmania’s legislation will come into force in October this year, while South Australia committed to an 18-24 month period before implementing the new laws.

The Northern Territory was the first jurisdiction to pass voluntary assisted dying legislation, with the process being legal for some months in 1996 and 1997 before being overturned by the federal government.

Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed there were no plans for overturning the ban on the NT or ACT being allowed to make voluntary assisted dying laws.

“There are differences between territories and states,” he said.

“I’m not proposing any changes.”

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