Historic euthanasia laws pass in Victoria

28 Nov 2017 North Central Review (Kilmore), Melbourne (General News) HISTORIC euthanasia laws were passed in Victorias upper house last Wednesday afternoon, November 22, following a marathon 28hour sitting. The new laws mean that Victoria will be the first state in Australia to allow terminally ill people to end their lives through the voluntary euthanasia scheme. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed with amendments 22 to 18 votes in the 40-member Upper House. It was a conscience vote for all MPs and in an emotional end to days of debate totalling 61 hours many members wept as they cast their vote. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes, who sat on the Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into End of Life Choices, told the North Central Review that the bill passing was a very proud and emotional moment. Im very grateful to have been part of this historic moment in the Victorian Parliament, and importantly what it means to people with terminal illnesses and their families that there will soon be laws that facilitate a choice for them at the end of their days to avoid a very horrible death if they choose to do so, Ms Symes said. Im pretty proud to be involved in that process and have an outcome thats important for so many people in Victoria. I think it represents the will of the public and the community. The support for this was large; the opposition to it was loud but smaller and I think its the right outcome thats been arrived at. Im particularly proud that the Victorian Parliament passed this legislation; I think it represents the will of the public. As amendments to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill were agreed upon, the bill must return to the lower house for ratification. The bill was passed in the lower house last month with a strong majority 47 to 37. Amendments to the bill from the upper house included halving the time frame for eligible patients to access the scheme from 12 months to live to six months to live. The exception to this timeframe is people suffering from neurodegenerative conditions such as motor neurone disease, who will be able to access the scheme in their final 12 months. The new laws are expected to come into effect in 2019 and will provide patients suffering intolerable pain the right to choose a doctor-assisted death. Patients wanting to access the scheme will have to face two independent medical assessment before obtaining the lethal drug. They must have lived in Victoria for at least a year, be over the age of 18 and of sound mind. Ms Symes confirmed that medical experts will determine the bill most appropriate drugs available when the is implemented in approximately 18 months time. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.