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Victorian bill becomes law

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10th December 2017

The Australian state of Victoria's Parliament has passed Government legislation to permit euthanasia

Victorian bill becomes law

Victoria's Labour state Government introduced a 'Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill' into Parliament on 20 September; it passed the Legislative Assembly on 20 October (47-37), the Legislative Council on 22 November (22-18), and received Royal Assent on 5 December. The Bill, prepared by Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Attorney-General Martin Pakula, was claimed to contain 68 safeguards which will 'make Victoria's model the safest, and most conservative, in the world.' Eligibility was based on capacity and a 6-month prognosis and the three part request would involve two independent medical assessments. As reported by ABC,

'The legislation required amendments to pass the Upper House, including halving the timeframe for eligible patients to access the scheme from 12 months to live to six months to live. There will be exemptions for sufferers of conditions such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, who will be able to access the scheme in their final 12 months.'

The bill is aimed at self-administration with doctor-administration for 'those who cannot physically administer or digest the medication themselves', but will not come into effect for six months.

Former Victorian Attorney General described the passage of the Bill as:

'a stark example of the parliamentary process at its worst. The proposal proceeded from a biased and superficial inquiry, from there to a partisan "expert" panel, thence to the browbeating of government MPs, and ending with each House of Parliament being forced to sit non-stop until it passed the Bill.'

'The resulting Act is a shambles not only of dangers but of flaws and anomalies. Unbelievably, the Act is so absurdly worded that once a person has been issued with a permit authorising them to obtain a lethal substance for their suicide, their cause of death must be officially recorded as the terminal illness from which they were suffering, even if they end up being killed by an extraneous cause such as a car crash.'

Read the legislation.

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