A five-hour debate on a voluntary euthanasia bill last week finished with a number of local MPs voting to kill it off, with one arguing South Australians should not use the measure as a “cheap way out”.
The conscience vote for the Death with Dignity bill saw MPs split evenly, with Speaker Michael Atkinson forced to cast the deciding vote in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Schubert MP Stephan Knoll, Light MP Tony Piccolo and Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan each voted to turn down the legislation, which was analysed line-by-line during last week’s parliamentary sitting.
On Wednesday night, Mr van Holst Pellekaan had voted in favour of holding detailed debate on the contentious bill to offer the opportunity for amendments.
However, concerns over the details of the legislation had seen him later vote it down despite “sitting on the fence” on the issue of voluntary euthanasia.
“I find this a difficult issue,” he said on Monday.
“I approach it with an open mind.”
The Mid North MP spoke out in parliament over the issue, noting that while the bill would mean two doctors must agree a terminally ill patient qualifies for voluntary euthanasia, there was no limit on the number of doctors a person could visit to seek this approval.
Meanwhile, Mr Knoll released a lengthy statement on Monday saying that while correspondence from his constituents had been “50-50”, he had voted down the bill to protect “the most vulnerable in our community, who are very likely not to know what it is that we have done for them”.
Mr Piccolo said he had received mixed feedback on the way he had voted, which he said was due to the bill lacking “significant safeguards”.
“I am not opposed to supporting measures that are designed to deal with pain and suffering, but I would want to be satisfied that as a community we have exhausted all other measures, and don’t use euthanasia as a cheap way out,” he said.