For the first time (Northren Territory not being a state), an Australian state has passed a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill in its lower house. The bill – which would allow assisted suicide and euthanasia for terminally ill patients with less than 12 months to live – has been fiercely criticised by parliamentarians from all sides of politics, and even faced a scare from Deputy Premier James Merlino, who on the first evening unsuccessfully attempted to put the legislation on an indefinite hold. In a marathon 26 hour sitting of parliament on Thursday and Friday, opponents of the legislation proposed more than 150 amendments, all of which were rejected by the government. The Bill passed on Friday morning with a majority of 47 to 37. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 has now been sent to Victoria’s Legislative Council for yet more debate and dissection.
Analysts believe that the result of the Victorian bill will have a massive impact on the outcome of euthanasia debates currently occurring in other Australian States and territories. New South Wales is currently debating very similar legislation to that proposed in Victoria, and Western Australia has convened a parliamentary committee to examine “end of life choices”.