Friday, January 19, 2018

History made as Victoria legalises voluntary assisted dying

David Lee December 6, 2017

VICTORIA has become the first state in Australia to legalise voluntary assisted dying, following the bill passing through the legislative council recently.

The bill, which was supported by 22 MPs and voting against by 18 MPs, will mean that as of June 2019, Victorians will be able to access voluntary assisted dying.

During debate on the bill in the Legislative Council numerous amendments were proposed with a small number being adopted.

Key points of the bill included people requiring to be over 18 years of age, of sound mind and normally resident in Victoria for at least 12 months, anyone wanting to use voluntary assisted dying must voluntarily make three requests and be assessed by two  independent doctors, including at least one specialist and people using voluntary assisted dying having a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months, with exceptions for those with conditions such as motor neurone disease who will be able to use it within their final 12 months.

Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp said he believes that passing the bill was a big step forward for Victoria.

“This bill is about empathy and compassion for terminally ill people and their loved ones.

“It seems to be an anathema that we allow people to make critical health choices throughout their lives except at the final crucial point.

“By introducing voluntary assisted dying we are giving terminally ill patients choices over the final stage of their lives.”