(1/2)LAWS to allow voluntary euthanasia, legalise same-sex marriage and restore the size of State Parliament will all be debated next year.
In one-on-one interviews with The Examiner, Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim made it clear they were still committed to a raft of socially progressive reforms.
The pair had intended to restart a fight to legalise euthanasia this year, but that was derailed.
It is now likely that a discussion paper on proposed dying with dignity laws will be released early next year.
Ms Giddings said Tasmanians would have plenty of time to contribute their ideas to the design of such legislation no matter when the paper was released.
“I was hopeful of getting a discussion paper out before Christmas, but I’m not sure whether or not we’re going to achieve that,” Ms Giddings said.
Mr McKim, who will co-sponsor the bill, said the paper would outline various models of voluntary euthanasia used overseas.
It would not ask people if they agreed with such laws.
“Lara and I are both strong supporters of law reform in this area,” Mr McKim said.
“The discussion paper is intended to generate debate over what kind of model we should propose to the Tasmanian Parliament.”
Last time the pair co-sponsored a bill, on same-sex marriage, it was narrowly defeated in the Legislative Council.
Mr McKim said he was determined to bring that debate back on, but would not commit to doing so before three MLCs were up for re-election in May.
“We’ll have further discussions, but my view is I would like to see the debate again (next year),” he said.
Ms Giddings also left her options open.
“Same-sex marriage is an issue of great concern to many Tasmanians, and just because we have a lot of other work to do in the economic area and financial area, that doesn’t mean you ignore social reform,” she said.
“So those MLCs who fundamentally believe in it but couldn’t, for whatever reason, vote for it hoping the issue has gone to bed, it hasn’t.”
In 2010 all three parties agreed, in principle, to restore the House of Assembly from 25 MHAs to 35 MHAs at the next election.
However, after the poor state of Tasmania’s finances became clear the Liberal Party and then Labor backed away from legislating for extra politicians.
The change, which would apply from the next election, would cost an extra $3 million a year.
Mr McKim had vowed to bring on a debate last year, but backed off when it was clear he didn’t have the support of either major party.
He promised that all MHAs would have a chance to vote on the issue next year.
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