The Victorian Government may well become the first Australian state to legalise euthanasia, with Premier Daniel Andrews this week saying his government will provide “a way forward” on the issue.
Mr Andrews says all MPs will have a conscience vote in the near future, with a bill expected to hit State Parliament sometime next year.
Although it is not clear how MPs will vote on the issue, Mr Andrews seems adamant that his Government will make it happen.
“We need to accept, all of us, that we can do much better by those who are at the end of their life in very vulnerable circumstances,” he said. “We are letting a lot of people down and we have got to do better than that.”
But Mr Andrews’ wishes have received their share of criticism, with the Australian Medical Association calling on the Victorian Government to ensure that legalised euthanasia does not come at the expense of continuing palliative care programs, and that any discussion about euthanasia would involve the medical profession.
“Palliative care must be freely available to all who have a terminal condition or who require management of the symptoms of chronic and incurable medical conditions,” said Victorian President of the AMA, Lorraine Baker.
Associate Professor Mark Boughey from St Vincent’s Centre for Palliative Care believes palliative care has a better outcome for terminal patients than assisted dying.
“It’s less than about one per cent of people with a terminal illness will actually desire euthanasia or assisted suicide,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of people with a terminal illness do not elect euthanasia or assisted suicide, even in jurisdictions where this is available.
“That’s not to say these people should be ignored — they shouldn’t be. They should receive compassionate and professional care, but again I think it’s this resourcing of palliative care, let’s get that right first.”
What do you think about the Victorian Government’s line of thinking? If it were to go ahead with legalised euthanasia, would you hope that your state followed suit? Do you want the right to die? Why do you think doctors are pushing for more funding for palliative care?