Victoria becomes the first state to legalise assisted dying

Dying with dignity laws to be in full effect in Victoria by June 2019.

Victoria passes assisted dying laws

Victoria’s Parliament has passed voluntary euthanasia laws. The new rules regarding assisted dying will take effect from June 2019.

This monumental achievement has finally seen politicians manage to legislate on a difficult issue that has overwhelming community support. Some polls suggest that up to 80 per cent of Australians support voluntary euthanasia, yet it has been a long road to get to this day.

Greens MP Colleen Hartland introduced the first ever assisted dying bill into the Victorian Parliament 10 years ago.

While that bill wasn’t successful, she worked tirelessly to keep the issue on the agenda and was constantly reminding the parliament that it was lagging behind community opinion on the issue.

Last year the Labor Government, led by Premier Daniel Andrews, finally agreed to introduce dying with dignity legislation and after months of debate, including a 28-hour session to pass through the upper house last week, the law was eventually passed.

Soon, terminally ill Victorians will finally get to take control of the final chapter of their lives and have the choice of a peaceful death.

The laws will not come into effect for well over a year, however. There are good reasons for the delay, though. Politicians have explained that doctors throughout the state need to be trained on what the new laws mean and how they are to be applied. That process will take some time.

While it is still unknown what type of drug will be administered, Victorians will be able to access some type of lethal drug after passing a three-step process involving two independent medical assessments.

Patients must be at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and have lived in Victoria for at least one year.

They must also be suffering in a way that "cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable".

The patient must administer the drug themselves, but in some cases where that may not be possible, a doctor may be asked to do so.

The legislation also includes 68 measures to prevent vulnerable people from being coerced or abused, including criminal offences and a board that will review all cases.

Do you believe the other states should follow Victoria’s lead? What are your thoughts on voluntary euthanasia?

(correction: 'Victoria’s Parliament has passed Australia’s first voluntary euthanasia laws' changed to 'Victoria’s Parliament has passed voluntary euthanasia laws. The new rules regarding assisted dying will take effect from June 2019.')

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    sunnyOz
    30th Nov 2017
    11:36am
    Should be made Australia wide
    Tib
    30th Nov 2017
    12:55pm
    I agree.
    Knows-a-lot
    30th Nov 2017
    1:06pm
    I disagree (for now). There aren't enough safeguards.
    Charlie
    30th Nov 2017
    11:42am
    Just keep it in Victoria and we can all go there to die. The grim cannula is waiting.
    Puglet
    30th Nov 2017
    12:26pm
    Charlie I didn’t want to laugh but ‘the grim cannula’ is clever and black humour at its best and I am laughing. BTW everyone, very few people will need a cannula the majority must take the cup, hold it and drink it unaided. I should think only the very, very few who are totally paralysed and unable to swallow perhaps because of motor neurone disease will be offered a cannula.
    Charlie
    30th Nov 2017
    4:07pm
    It sounds simple enough but I would prefer to see Victoria run it for a while to see how they deal with borderline cases. After all it is murder in the eyes of the law and all of that would need to be adjusted.

    I think I read that you have to be a resident of Victoria for 12 months to qualify, so that would prevent everyone rushing to Victoria to die.

    I don't think the answer is to adopt it nationally right away, although I saw that there is a new bill waiting to be put to parliament already.
    Tib
    30th Nov 2017
    9:54pm
    Charlie I'd be surprised if the law passed in Victoria is very different from those laws passed around the rest of the world. If so they have been tested over a long period.
    Tib
    30th Nov 2017
    12:10pm
    Well done Victoria, well done Colleen Hartland. Now for the rest of the country.
    Knows-a-lot
    30th Nov 2017
    1:08pm
    Don't be so hasty. I want to see the fine print regarding safeguards.
    Tib
    30th Nov 2017
    1:17pm
    Knows-a-lot other countries manage to get it right and there's quite a list of countries that have these types of laws so Australia should be able to manage. It's too important a law to let this opportunity pass.
    Ted Wards
    30th Nov 2017
    12:21pm
    In 1994 in Adelaide my mum was dying a horrible death through cancer. No amount of morphine would assist her pain. The Doctor took us aside and explained that she could go on for days like this if we wanted it to occur. We all groaned and said no. He said do you all agree that there is no quality of life and that you no longer wish to see your loved one in this amount of pain. We all agreed. He explained how they accomplish a pain free end, which involved the doses of morphine. Mum died about 5 hours later, and we were assured she was in no pain.

    This is what the whole issue is about. There is no hope, there is no quality of life, and everyone is suffering needlessly. Those who appose it either have never seen a loved one pass like this or are heartless. So although Victoria has passed the state law that the person can chose when and how, it is a larger issue than that. I guess it also depends on whether the person has family and so on.

    Well done Victoria - Australia says yes ;)
    Vonveevee
    30th Nov 2017
    1:53pm
    Man always rushes in to play God....forgetting consequences. Both my Mother and sister died of lung cancer but neither of them ever asked to be put to death, and I couldnt do that anyway. I find this law worse than disgusting.
    Pamiea
    30th Nov 2017
    2:05pm
    Bring it on Australia. The sooner the better. We put animals down who are suffering. Do we care more for animals than humans? Ibelieve in the hereafter so I will be reunited with loved ones in time.
    Triss
    30th Nov 2017
    2:33pm
    I agree with this up to a point but governments are all about saving money, are we going to see the closure of hospices and palliative care because euthanasia is cheaper?
    Yes there are supposed to be safeguards but safeguards are so easily ignored, look at the abuse in care homes.
    As with most things the poor and vulnerable miss out. The elderly are told daily that they’re a burden on the health system, they’re already told they will bankrupt the country accessing the pension...but now there is euthanasia.
    Puglet
    30th Nov 2017
    2:54pm
    You make good points Triss. I think that more and improved publically funded palliative care units will open and so they should. Unfortunately the scandals in aged care units are already driving people who refuse to go into these places to accessing the means of ‘suicide’, increasingly the elderly are importing the drugs needed to suicide. The fear of Alzheimer’s makes them more determined. Of course this has nothing to do with the Victorian Legislation! The Vic Rules are the most restrictive in the world and few people will be eligible. The data on the most well known clinics Oregon, Dignitas and the ones in Belgium show that while the demand is increasing there is no evidence of forced deaths. Oregon has been around for 20 years and publishes its data online so nobody is hiding anything. I will not go to a nursing home especially if I develop Alzheimer’s so I am looking for Plan Bs!
    Jennie
    30th Nov 2017
    6:06pm
    The Victorian Laws are so restrictive as to be nonsensical. How can you know if a person with a terminal illness will definitely die within 6 months. And tough luck for those with a neurological disease who can suffer for years. I will decide when I want to die, not ask permission from doctors. How patriarchal can you get.
    Tib
    30th Nov 2017
    10:22pm
    I don't know about patriarchal, the government has to put laws in place the community will accept. I personally think we should have laws in place that allow us a comfortable death if we don't want to live. I think it should be our decision but the community won't accept that.


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