Upper house 5 split on die law
25 Oct 2017 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Anthony Bunn LEGISLATIVE councillors representing the North East seem likely to divide on left and right-wing lines in voting on legalising euthanasia. Labor Northern Victoria MPs Jaclyn Symes and Mark Gepp will support their governments bill which is to be debated in their chamber from next week. National Luke OSullivan will oppose the legislation and Wendy Lovell (Liberal) and Daniel Young (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) are leaning towards no votes. Ms Symes co-wrote a cross-party report which last year advocated legalising voluntary assisted dying. Mr Gepp only finalised his support for euthanasia at the weekend. He said he was concerned at the number of terminally-ill Victorians opting to take their own lives. I think offering them choices, where theyre in charge of these decisions, is a compassionate position for the parliament to take and thats ultimately why I wanted to support the legislation, Mr Gepp said. Following the bill passing in the lower house last week, Mr Gepp said lobbying had become more pointed and a little more in your face. Mr OBrien is concerned about lack of safeguards in the assisted dying bill. Ms Lovell said she had circulated 25,000 paper surveys in her seat in areas such as Shepparton not already represented by Coalition MPs. At this stage I would be leaning towards no, she said. Im concerned that the government is going down this track without adequately addressing palliative care. Im afraid people will choose euthanasia as an option because theyre not afforded the appropriate level of palliative care that might have taken their pain away or made so they could tolerate it and live out their time with their family. Ms Symes rejected the suggestion there would be a cut to palliative care due to legalised euthanasia. This doesnt replace palliative care, she said. Theres not that many that will take this option up, palliative care will still be most peoples choice. Ms Symes would not support amending the bill to limit access to those within six months of dying as opposed to 12 months. She believes the longer period would ensure candidates had more time to plan and were less rushed. Mr Young was not sold on the medical framework and would not support the government to go down the path of voluntary assisted dying if they are not going to invest in palliative care. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.