Change of heart

09 Dec 2016 Herald Sun, Melbourne (General News) by Alex White And Matt Johnston Dans push for euthanasia laws VOLUNTARY euthanasia laws will be put to the Victorian parliament next year after Premier Daniel Andrews threw his support behind the change. Mr Andrews promised yesterday his government would introduce laws to enable terminally ill patients access to life-ending treatment by as early as 2019. A panel of medical, legal and consumer experts will design the legislative framework that will have strict safeguards in place, including that two doctors sign off on any patients decision. Community consultation will be held next year on the proposed model, during what is expected to be a heated and emotional debate inside and outside parliament. A survey of Legislative Council MPs, which will have the final say on proposed laws if they get through the Legislative Assembly, found almost half were likely to support assisted dying laws. Several others said they were undecided, or could not be contacted. But critics of euthanasia last night attacked the move as state-sanctioned suicide. Mr Andrews declared he had changed his mind on the issue since his father died of cancer earlier this year and said: I will be voting for this Bill. This year my family went through what many families go through in this state and that made me reflect. My position has changed. Subject to the appropriate safeguards, subject to a good Bill being put forward. All MPs will have a conscience vote on the issue, meaning they are not governed by party policy. Mr Andrews said doctors opposed to the practice could opt out, and patients will have to be a resident of Victoria for an allotted period of time before seeking treatment. They will also have to be a permanent resident of Australia, to stop the practice of so-called death tourism. The premier said the Federal Government would be unable to intervene to stop euthanasia in Victoria if the state created its own laws. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said he opposed the push but his colleagues would get a free vote. I accept and understand this issue is a personal one and people feel very deeply about it, Mr Guy said. Sex Party MP Fiona Patten who launched an inquiry into End of Life Choices that is being used as the basis for the new laws said she would lobby hard in favour. The Greens, who introduced a private members Bill in 2008 on the issue, also support the move. But Right to Life Australia president Margaret Tighe slammed the move. What Premier Andrews proposes is nothing short of state-sanctioned suicide, she said. [email protected] UPPER HOUSE: ARE YOU LIKELY TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA LAWS? YES (18) Fiona Patten (Sex Party) James Purcell (Vote 1 Local Jobs) Harriet Shing (Labor) Shaun Leane (Labor) Jaala Pulford (Labor) Jaclyn Symes (Labor) Philip Dalidakis (Labor) Gavin Jennings (Labor) Cesar Melhem (Labor) Samantha Dunn (Greens) Greg Barber (Greens) Colleen Hartland (Greens) Nina Springle (Greens) Sue Pennicuik (Greens) Mary Wooldridge (Liberal) Georgie Crozier (Liberal) Edward ODonohue (Liberal) Margaret Fitzherbert (Liberal) NO (8) Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins (Democratic Labour Party) Adem Somyurek (Labor) Daniel Mulino (Labor) Nazih Elasmar (Labor) Inga Peulich (Liberal) Joshua Morris (Liberal) Bernie Finn (Liberal) Richard Dalla-Riva (Liberal) UNDECIDED (6) Jeff Bourman (Shooters and Fishers Party) Daniel Young (Shooters and Fishers Party) Bruce Atkinson (Liberal) Craig Ondarchie (Liberal) Wendy Lovell (Liberal) David Davis (Liberal) UNKNOWN (8) Jenny Mikakos (Labor) Steve Herbert (Labor) Khalil Eideh (Labor) Gayle Tierney (Labor) Luke OSullivan (Nats) Melina Bath (Nats) Simon Ramsay (Nats) Gordon Rich-Phillips (Liberal) KEY OPPONENTS MATTHEW GUY (Liberal) BERNIE FINN (Liberal) RACHEL CARLING-JENKINS (DLP) KEY SUPPORTERS DANIEL ANDREWS (Labor) JILL HENNESSY (Labor) MARTIN PAKULA (Labor) Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.