Dying with dignity a matter of conscience

18 Oct 2017 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Samantha Dick AN emotional debate about the right of Victorians to die with dignity began in Parliament yesterday with the introduction of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. The Bill, prepared by Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Attorney-General Martin Pakula, outlines a detailed process for access to voluntary assisted dying. A key component of the Bill is that assisted dying must be strictly voluntary and self-administered, with doctor administration only available to those who cannot physically administer or digest the medication themselves. Only adults with decisionmaking capacity, who are suffering in the final weeks and months of their life with an outer limit of 12 months, can access the scheme. Another safeguard is that a person may only access voluntary assisted dying if they meet strict eligibility criteria, make three clear requests and have two independent medical assessments that determine they are eligible. The dying with dignity debate has been a contentious topic for North East MPs. Bill Tilley (MLA, Benambra) said he fundamentally opposes the Bill, namely due to fears of inadequate safeguards protecting vulnerable people in the community. Its a matter of conscience and I have had to dig deep into the morality and ethics of the proposed legislation and its impact on society, Mr Tilley said. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) and Victorian Premier DanielAndrews, however, are passionate advocates for voluntary assisted dying. This legislation will deliver the safest model in the world, with the most stringent checks and balances, Mr Andrews said. Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) remains undecided and said he would form an opinion after listening to the debate, and reflecting on local feedback he said had been split 50/50, but polling suggests a majority support for the Bill in his electorate. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.