Victorian MPs prepare to debate assisted suicide bill

Law would apply to terminally ill adults  of sound mind (Bigstock)

Voluntary euthanasia laws may come before Victoria’s parliament next week, the Herald Sun reports.

The Herald Sun understands the government is considering bringing the draft bill to the Legislative Assembly on the next sitting week, which begins next Tuesday.

This would allow MPs and the public to consider the controversial law before a likely emotional debate in the Lower House in mid-October. If the bill passes the Assembly, the Legislative Council would consider it in November.

The laws would apply only to terminally ill adult patients of sound mind who have made a request of doctors on three separate occasions.

Yesterday, State Coroner Sara Hinchey made findings on the deaths of two Victorian couples.

Roy and Nancy Budge, 83 and 87, of Rosebud, had been married for 63 years when they ended their lives last November, frustrated by a deterioration in their health. Mr Budge had cancer and could no longer use his hands properly, and his wife had emphysema and had been told there was little doctors could do to help.

Peter and Patricia Shaw, both 87, of Brighton, took their own lives in October 2015, after 60 years of marriage. They had begun planning for their deaths 15 years earlier, and were members of Exit International, run by controversial euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke.

But things did not go “entirely according to plan”. Mrs Shaw consumed pentobarbitone, and Mr Shaw put a pillow over her and held a plastic bag over her mouth. He then killed himself.

Judge Hinchey said the circumstances of the couples’ deaths illustrated a common theme that was encountered by coroners in Victoria.

“It is well understood that people who have lived a full, productive and loving life, but who experience an irreversible deterioration in their physical health, can develop a determination to end their own lives, often in circumstances of desperation, loneliness and fear,” the Coroner said.

Judge Hinchey said that because an assisted dying bill was likely to be considered by parliament by year’s end, it was unnecessary for her to make any recommendations.


Assisted dying Bill in sight of Victorian parliament (Herald Sun)


Assisted dying laws pose a grave risk to the vulnerable (The Age)

New York top court rejects right to doctor-assisted suicide (Reuters)

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