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Victorian Parliament introduced with voluntary assisted dying Bill

A Bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Victoria has been introduced to Parliament, with a vote expected before the end of the year.

Victoria's assisted dying legislation will deliver the safest model in the world (Source: Shutterstock)
Victoria's assisted dying legislation will deliver the safest model in the world (Source: Shutterstock)

The Bill, prepared by Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Attorney-General Martin Pakula, delivers on the safe and compassionate framework designed by the Ministerial Advisory Panel, chaired by former Australian Medical Association (AMA) president and neurosurgeon Brian Owler.

“Victoria will be the first state in Australia to legalise voluntary assisted dying should it be passed by Parliament,” Premier Daniel Andrews says.

“This legislation will deliver the safest model in the world, with the most stringent checks and balances.

“This means all Members of Parliament can have a respectful debate on the principle instead of the technicalities.”

The legislation delivers on all 68 safeguards recommended by the Panel to protect individuals and the community, and make Victoria’s model the safest, and most conservative, in the world.

The safeguards include:

·       Only adults with decision making capacity, who are suffering and are in the final weeks and months of life, with an outer limit of 12 months, can access the scheme

·       A person may only access voluntary assisted dying if they meet strict eligibility criteria, make three clear requests and have two independent medical assessments that determine they are eligible

·       The request must always be initiated by the person themselves, with doctors who raise the issue subject to professional misconduct investigations

The scheme will be self-administered, with doctor administration only available to those who cannot physically administer or digest the medication themselves.

“We have designed these laws to give genuine choice for Victorians with a terminal illness, while putting in place rigorous safeguards from abuse including a new oversight body,” Attorney-General Pakula says.

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