23rd Nov 2017

Voluntary euthanasia laws pass Victoria’s Upper House

FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Voluntary euthanasia laws pass Victoria’s Upper House
Leon Della Bosca

After a marathon 28-hour, parliamentary, Australia’s first voluntary euthanasia laws have passed Victoria’s Upper House, brining the state closer to becoming the first to legalise assisted dying.

The drawn-out session was punctuated by accusations of filibustering by MPs opposed to the bill, as well as repeated, unnecessary questioning of many of the 141 clauses and a standoff over whether to allow MPs a break for fear the debate would lose momentum.

In the end, the Labor Government’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed the emotionally charged conscience vote 22 to 18.

However, there are some proposed amendments to the bill, which means it will return to the Lower House before it can become law.



The bill already passed the Lower House last month, with 47 MPs voting in favour compared to 37.

Should the bill pass as expected, terminally-ill patients will have the right to an assisted death   from 2019.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the law will finally give terminally-ill people suffering intolerable pain the right to end their lives with dignity.

“It’s all about providing to those that for too long have been denied a compassionate end, and the control and power over the last phase of their journey,” said Mr Andrews.

“It’s about giving them that control, that care, that compassion and ultimately, the respect to allow them to write that final chapter of their journey. To end intolerable suffering and to give people the dignity they’ve been denied for far too long.”

While it is still unknown what type of drug will be administered, Victorians will be able to access some type of lethal drug within 10 days of requesting permission to die, which then requires a three-step process involving two independent medical assessments.

Patients must 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.

 

The state of euthanasia play around Australia
A voluntary euthanasia bill was defeated by just one vote this month in the NSW Upper House.

Last year, the South Australian Parliament narrowly rejected a bill legalising the right to request euthanasia. Earlier this year, Tasmania also narrowly voted down a euthanasia law.

The West Australian Parliament has set up a committee to consider euthanasia laws.

The Northern Territory passed euthanasia laws in 1995, but the following year the Federal Government overrode the legislation. Euthanasia is also being discussed in the ACT’s political circles.

Queensland last month said it had no intention of introducing voluntary assisted dying laws.

Do you believe the other states should follow Victoria’s lead? Do you think the likely Victorian law is good news? What are your thoughts on voluntary euthanasia?

Related articles:
Voluntary euthanasia up for debate
More boomers considering euthanasia
Dying well – on your terms





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
GrandmaKathleen22
23rd Nov 2017
10:21am
Good. I remember my Aunty in excruciating pain and she should have been able to die peacefully. I have never forgotten the sight of her twisted, emancipated body. Well done, Vic Labor, love Andrews, our premier!
Knows-a-lot
23rd Nov 2017
12:58pm
*emaciated body.
GrandmaKathleen22
23rd Nov 2017
9:59pm
Ha ha, yes, stupid auto correct!
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
10:27am
If these laws are found to operate successfully in Victoria hopefully they will be introduced in other states. I support the religious freedom of those people who have religious belief but I don't support them imposing their religious belief on me. If life no longer has value to you you should be able to end it if you wish and drugs should be made available so that you can do this with some dignity.
john
23rd Nov 2017
12:53pm
It isn't that simple, in the common mans terms, it is the allowance to help someone kill themselves, and maybe most deserve a right to no pain, but that is thereal answer drugs that stop pain until nature takes its course, now maybe we don't have drugs that work totally I don't know, but this is not really about any of that, its about a law!

It bothers me extremely.
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
3:09pm
John (in common mans terms?). Palliative care is not effective as you would know if you had seen it in action. Yes it's about the law ...it's about changing the law so it's more humane. And let's be honest I don't care if it bothers you, it's not your life. I suspect you are one of those God botherers who think you have the right to make decisions for others.
Charlie
23rd Nov 2017
11:23am
I have reservations about whether these laws can operate in Victoria without being misused. I suppose that will depend on the content.
The way that Victoria is racing into everything that seems new and different doesn't exactly fill me with confidence. Real life is more like two steps forward and one step backward, rather than accepting all change as good.
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
3:12pm
I haven't had a look at Victoria's laws but euthanasia laws are already in place in many parts of the world.
Old Man
23rd Nov 2017
12:16pm
I believe that this decision is so polarising that it should have been an election policy put before the voters. One thought on this decision is that doctors are being asked to participate in ending someone's life. What will happen if a doctor refuses?
trood
23rd Nov 2017
12:28pm
Yes as over 80% of Australians support euthanasia or assisted dying whatever you want to call it, it should go to a vote at the next federal election and be valid for ALL states.
Old Man there is more than one doctor.
Rosret
23rd Nov 2017
1:01pm
They should have added it to the same sex vote and any other contentious issue and we could have had it all over and done with in one go.
To me its like organ donation. If you want to do that then do so. If you want assisted euthanasia then have that. If you don't then don't.

I think the vote is in the detail. It can't be anyone else's decision other than the person wishing to end their own life.

Also, if you were a doctor would you want to be the administrator. What an awful task to be given. Vets do it everyday but they don't enjoy it.
ex PS
24th Nov 2017
9:28am
Maybe we should include a referendum at each federal election with the three most pressing questions on the minds of the public.
Hopefully we will not end up voting on should a celebrity change their hairstyle.
As far as euthanasia is concerned, all such changes must go through parliament and it is such a polarizing issue I would doubt anything would get through that would allow people to be taken advantage of. One has to remember that for every scheming greedy family member there are probably five who would detect ill doings and report it to the police. And every process I have seen so far has left the final decision between the doctor and the patient, no one else does or should have a say.
trood
23rd Nov 2017
12:24pm
At least the Victorians got it right, pity the other states are such idiots
john
23rd Nov 2017
12:53pm
WHY?
ex PS
24th Nov 2017
9:31am
Because no one has the right to decide whether someone else dies or lives, it the most personal decision you can make and no one should be able to make it for you either way.
Pamiea
23rd Nov 2017
12:25pm
I am totally for it if its not abused by money seeking relatives. We put animals down if they are suffering so why not allow humans the right to die and end their pain and suffering?
Knows-a-lot
23rd Nov 2017
1:00pm
Humans are not animals. We transcend that status.
Rosret
23rd Nov 2017
1:07pm
Actually Knows-a-lot we are homo sapiens a mammalian animal.

If you wish to bring the Bible into this then Parliament then moves from being secular to non secular and we are at the whim of the churches - and who's beliefs?
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
8:49pm
Rosret that is a fine description thought up by someone In science because he didn't want to be an ape. :) what we are is a very bright ape with a nasty disposition.
ex PS
24th Nov 2017
9:34am
Humans actually are crueler, greedier and display less common sense than most animals.
PlanB
24th Nov 2017
3:40pm
ex PS I am with you 100% on the description of humans against Animals
Bribri
23rd Nov 2017
12:36pm
It should never have been passed. Its pure murder. Congratulation to Queensland for refusing it. Shame on you Daniel Andrews. You are a Coward. I will never vote for you ever again. I wonder what the Catholic school and the priest of your parish must be thinking. Have you been Excuminated yet.!!!!
Knows-a-lot
23rd Nov 2017
1:03pm
Euthanasia is not murder. Murder is killing someone against their wishes. Those with terminal illness in agony want the release of death.

"Excuminated"? I think you mean excommunicated.
Rosret
23rd Nov 2017
1:15pm
Bribri if euthanasia is murder then what is the term when medical science interferes with the natural life cycle and cures heart disease, cancer, etc etc.
So many people these days would have died a beautiful natural death and yet now go on to be zombies in nursing care.
If it is OK to help people live then surely it is OK to help the die as well.
Old Man
23rd Nov 2017
2:14pm
"Euthanasia is not murder"
Knows-a-lot your comment is applicable if all of the rules are followed. If any of the rules (that we are yet to see) are ignored then euthanasia becomes murder. Much has been written about this subject and a link is attached that gives food for thought.

https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/euthanasia-has-been-a-disaster-overseas-experts-say-as-renewed-australian-push-escalates/
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
3:39pm
OG I really don't care what the catholic weekly thinks. What is their opinion on child molesting, OK wth it are they?
Old Man
23rd Nov 2017
3:48pm
Good to see you have an open mind Tib.
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
5:28pm
OG thanks lol
Maggie
23rd Nov 2017
7:50pm
This is not really about euthanasia which does mean killing. This bill is about assisted dying which means that you are given the drug to take yourself, when you want to, and without a doctor present.

What bothers me is how difficult it will be for someone who is terminally ill, possibly in great pain and struggling to have to find and visit two doctors who are prepared to be a part of this, and to do this more than once before they are given the medicine. This is going to be really hard for people without family who are prepared to drive them back and forth etc.
Cautious
23rd Nov 2017
8:11pm
Maggie
Doctors are already assisting people to die.
If you dont know this you haven't had an elderly loved one who has broken a leg and caught pneumonia in hospital. The doctor then gives you the what about quality of life speech "we can increase the morphine dose until she goes".
You turn away in disgust and disbelief, or do you?
Maybe some might convince the old lady yhe doctor is right, and he has a buddy down the corridor who will counter-sign.
Easy.
Now for that inheritance.
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
8:20pm
Cautious -rules can be put in place to stop people from using assisted dying to gain an inheritance. But I wouldn't put anyone through that kind of suffering to protect their money. It's only money and euthanasia is important to prevent suffering.
Cautious
23rd Nov 2017
8:31pm
Rules dont mean much.
I am sure they have debated so called safeguards until they were wishing they could euthanize themselves.
There is always a loophole.
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
8:38pm
Other countries have made it work. It's too important not too. Like everything nothing's perfect. The present system is terrible, to much unnecessary pain. The laws have to change.
PlanB
24th Nov 2017
7:41am
Stuff the priests etc and the church I have long lost ALL respect for them after their hypocritical ways -- if you notice I never even give priest a capital p
john
23rd Nov 2017
12:49pm
I know all the painful stories, but this is a bad move and I will guarantee, that sooner rather than later, we will get one murder out of this legalising and sanctioning of killing people or allowing them to kill themselves, yes it'll happen. Humans are simply not perfect but are bloody greedy.
And one is one too many.
And palliative care???? has been barely mentioned????????????????????????????????????????????????
PlanB
23rd Nov 2017
2:03pm
palliative care is not the answer in a lot of cases -- I was trained in that to look after my Husband but it came to the point that he was still in unbelievable, screaming pain
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
3:33pm
Other countries around the world have made euthanasia laws work effectively why not Australia. If it's a moral issue then don't accept assisted dying laws for yourself, die in unbelievable screaming pain , I support your decision but don't tell me I can't choose to die in a more humane way.
Maggie ( SA )
26th Nov 2017
10:53am
Palliative 'CARE' ? I watched my husband starve to death while receiving so called CARE, they were bringing him meals 3 times a day, then taking them away untouched for 4 days in a row ... I begged them to give him a drip but drs. said that it would do no good ... he had a self monitored pain relief system but he became too weak to press the release button, he was in excruciating pain and begging me to help him
When my time comes, I'll be ready ( i hope)

( Two Maggies on YLC, ???)
Knows-a-lot
23rd Nov 2017
12:57pm
I have completely reversed my long-held stance on this, after being resident in three nursing homes for a six-week period: I am pro-euthanasia in certain circumstances. I'd allow it not just for the terminally ill, but for dementia- and senility-sufferers who have lost all semblance of humanity. They are a burden to themselves and to everyone else. Give them a compassionate, peaceful release in death.
Rosret
23rd Nov 2017
1:09pm
- and yet dementia is excluded.
PlanB
23rd Nov 2017
2:00pm
Now for the rest of Aussie, I watched my Husband die in extreme pain -- and I want the choice -- remembering it is not always used but gives one an insurance that it is there IF you wish
Rosret
23rd Nov 2017
2:08pm
:)
Tib
23rd Nov 2017
3:21pm
I agree I watched my father die the same way. As far as I'm concerned it's no one else's business if I decide to end my life. I'd like to give some of these religious nut bags a couple of hours of the pain my father and your husband went through and see if they change their minds. I give it about 15 mins before their opinion changes.
PlanB
24th Nov 2017
7:36am
I am with you 100% there Tib --
ex PS
24th Nov 2017
9:39am
Studies have shown that the majority of those given the means of opting out do not use them, they just wanted to be assured that they could if they needed to. Uncertainty is a most debilitating mental state.
Not a Bludger
23rd Nov 2017
3:33pm
Just get on with it ASAP.
Cruzisuzi
23rd Nov 2017
6:24pm
Euthenasia is a rite of passage for those who have no wish to prolong suffering and pain. It works successfully overseas and there is no reason for it not to be implemented safely in Australia. The NT was the first to legalise Euthenasia 22 years ago but federal government ( courtesy of John Howard and Kevin Andrews) over ruled this humane peace of legislation and caused much suffering for those left to die lingering deaths. Proper debate is mandatory, as is happening right now,as is establishing the proper safeguards enshrined in
law. To prolong suffering is cruel and unnecessary.
PlanB
24th Nov 2017
7:43am
It also needs to be eased up too when a person is in as much pain as my Husband was in the was in no condition to give permission he was screaming and leaping off the bed with the pain.
ex PS
24th Nov 2017
9:43am
My wife is a believing Catholic, she is afraid of dying in agony after watching her father go through it. On the other hand she will not commit a mortal sin, I will have a difficult choice to make in the event that she requires my help. I am not in fear of my mortal soul but may not have the strength to do what is needed to act humanly.
alinejordan
24th Nov 2017
12:30pm
the people who oppose this most sensible and humane law seem to forget that we all die.. this idea that we have to save life at all cost doesn't make any sense at all. i totally object to people imposing their beliefs on me. what i chose to do at the end of my life is my business,not theirs. i wouldn't ever pretend to impose my will on another person and i never can understand people who think their values/beliefs have to apply to me.
FrankC
24th Nov 2017
12:41pm
Can someone please explain the Upper house, and the Lower house. I'm used to the house of Lords, and House of commons. Don't be fooled by the statement we are run on the 'Westminster system', that is a blatant lie/misunderstanding. We are definitely NOT.Thank you
Rainey
25th Nov 2017
7:05am
I prefer the term ''assisted dying'' to 'euthanasia'', but whatever you call it, it is a good and necessary thing. Anyone who has watched a loved one die slowly and in agony (and I've watched several!) will agree that doctors should be allowed to help someone die in certain circumstances.

What astonishes me is the ridiculous terms these idiot politicians draw up to supposedly protect people. They are SO STUPID! Half of those who need help to die won't get it because they are too far gone by the time they are allowed to make the decision to comply with the requirements.

The solution was so simple. We already allow people to declare their wish not to be artificially kept alive in specific circumstances. There are strict controls on how that wish is declared. Simply extending that document to declare in what circumstances the person would like to be assisted to die would have provided a far better safety net without denying half those who need help access to it.

Honestly, the stupidity of our legislators is mind-boggling. And it seems the more we pay them, the more stupid they become!
Bonny
26th Nov 2017
7:38am
I really can't understand how anyone who knows they are going to did of a terminal illness gets to the stage they need to be assisted to die. We already have what's needed to avoid this situation.
PlanB
26th Nov 2017
10:23am
I do not understand your comment Bonny, can you explain, please.

What is needed to avoid this situation?
*Loloften*
29th Nov 2017
10:34pm
My partner of 40yrs was diagnosed with terminal cancer, given a few mths to live. Within a wk, was interviewed whilst I was present by a Psychologist, then presented with a form to complete/sign re under what circumstances wanted "aid" - my dearest completed the form (was in sound mind), stating that did not want to be revived when all bodily functions impaired & needed to be on Life Support. That eventually, most distressingly for all family, occurred after several reasonably happy yrs when no further treatments available (including clinical trials) when totally incontinent/unable to speak or eat. Enormous help by the wonderful ambulance Paramedics/both Surgeon & Chief Oncologist re ensuring enough time for entire family to be present whilst slowly upping Morphine doses (knowingly, as we all did, that pain was ever increasing) - "it was time." We all had time to express our love &, altho' very sad, witness our very special loved one's calm & painless "passing." It's already happening, has been for many yrs....however still think it must be the terminally ill person's choice when able to make it.


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles