Upper house MPs continue to debate the assisted dying bill

22 Nov 2017 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Samantha Dick THE debate on voluntary euthanasia continued in the upper house at the Victorian Parliament last night, with opponents pushing for amendments to the landmark legislation. Wangaratta lower house MP Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) said he expected the debate to move slowly in the upper house given that MPs in the lower house spent 26 hours debating the legislation last month. It will be interesting to see what amendments get made, he said. Apparently one change ruled that a terminally ill person needed to be diagnosed with six months to live not 12 in order to access voluntary euthanasia. It is understood that 12 months will apply to those with a motor neurone disease. Mr McCurdy said he maintained his concerns about the prospect of family members being allowed to administer the lethal drug to a terminally ill person. I still believe the drug should be administered by a medical practitioner, he told the Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday. If a family member administers it, that person could have second thoughts about what they did and experience mental health issues as a result. Even if its in the wishes of the terminally ill person, Im still concerned about the ramifications of that scenario but obviously I need to wait and see what the amendments are. Mr McCurdy also said he still feared that a terminally ill person could be vulnerable to coercion. If youve got a terminal illness, youre probably not in the best position to make those decisions, he said. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) has maintained her support of the Bill, and is among the 40 upper house members currently debating the amendments, which if passed, will need to go back to the lower house. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.