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Lib blowback over euthanasia bill

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There is reportedly blowback in the Liberal party room over Premier Steven Marshall’s decision to bring forward a Lower House vote on voluntary assisted dying.

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Following the passage of euthanasia legislation in the South Australian Upper House early on Thursday, Marshall issued a statement announcing his intention to allocate government business time to debate the bill in the House of Assembly.

The premier said he did not want a vote on the matter “unduly delayed through parliamentary processes”.

“As the leader of this state I take my responsibility to have such legislation promptly resolved by the Parliament, one way or the other, seriously,” he said.

“That is why I have decided to progress debate on this legislation immediately.”

But the ABC reported late on Thursday night that there is anger within the Liberal Party room over the decision, as well as calls to sack the staffer who “prematurely” issued the statement.

One “senior Liberal” reportedly told David Bevan that he has “never seen such anger in the party room in my years in parliament” and the move to allocate government time to the bill was “entirely inappropriate”.

The bill – which represents the 17th attempt since 1995 to legalise voluntary assisted dying in SA – was introduced to parliament in December by Labor MLC Kyam Maher and is cosponsored by Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close.

The last attempt to pass a euthanasia bill in the Lower House ended in a 23-23 tie – split by then-Labor speaker Michael Atkinson who voted against the legislation.

The current bill before MPs includes 68 safeguards and a provision that people wishing to end their lives must be resident in SA for at least 12 months and at least 18 years old.

It also requires patients to show they have decision-making capacity and are capable of informed consent and to undergo an assessment by two independent medical practitioners not related to the applicant.

They must also be experiencing intolerable suffering that cannot be relieved, and have a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of less than six months, or 12 months for a person with a neurodegenerative disease.

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