The vote in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament on the Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill 2008 was lost yesterday 13 votes to 26.
Many of those who voted against the bill expressed support in principle for physician assisted dying (PAD), but had specific concerns about one provision or other of the Bill.
The government allowed a conscience vote on the bill itself but removed the conscience vote from procedural matters for Labor members who then voted as a block to defeat the proposal to refer the bill for detailed consideration in committee. It is disappointing therefore that Labor members have been forced to vote down the whole Bill because of specific concerns about one provision or the other.
Despite the wide disparity in the vote, all the indications are that a majority of Upper House members do support PAD in principle.
We call on the Premier to refer the matter to the Victorian Law Reform Commission for wide community consultation in the same way that the Government decided to do earlier with the abortion bill.
Professional social research shows that community support for abortion is 65%, and the Premier recognised the law on this was out of step with community sentiment and referred the matter to the Victorian Law Reform Commission for community consultation in order to create a strong and robust Bill to decriminalise abortion.
We call on him to do the same with physician assisted dying. With community support for PAD at 82%, the law is way out of step on this issue too.
82% of Victorians are in favour of PAD and DWDV will continue to fight for this type of legislation to enact the right to PAD.