Passing assisted dying bill could 'break the ice'

Victorian debate on euthanasia continues (Bigstock)

The passing of voluntary euthanasia laws in Victoria would open the door for similar legislation to be reintroduced to the Northern Territory, a former NT chief minister has said, ABC News reports.

Debate in Victoria's Upper House on assisted dying legislation will continue today, after it passed the Lower House last month.

Former Northern Territory chief minister Marshall Perron introduced the historic voluntary euthanasia legislation to the territory in 1995, only to have it overturned by the federal government two years later.

He told ABC Radio Darwin that if Victoria adopted the legislation it would be the "breaking of the ice" that has existed for two decades.

"For the first time in 20-odd years we will be in a position where the Territory will no longer be seen as having overstepped the mark, to have acted somewhat irresponsibly," he said.

"Those arguments will disappear as soon as another state adopts basically what the Northern Territory had done."

As Victoria debates the issue, the ACT government is calling for an end to the 20-year-old federal ban that prevents it from legislating on voluntary euthanasia.

The NT and the ACT cannot legislate on euthanasia because of a private members' bill named after conservative backbencher Kevin Andrews, introduced after the NT legalised euthanasia in 1995. The legislation blocks both territories from bringing in their own laws on assisted dying.

Mr Perron said legislative change in Victoria would reinvigorate other states to consider following suit.

"The issue won't go away, other states will pick it up and push it forward but it will be a huge blow if Victoria goes down," he said.

Meanwhile, SkyNews Australia reports Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford's speech drew tears in the chamber on Thursday, as she recounted watching her 13-year-old daughter Sinead die of cancer.

"Rejecting this bill will not save a single life" because it will only be available to those already dying from illness, she said.

Ms Pulford was followed by an equally passionate Bernie Finn, who railed against the lack of palliative care in regional Victoria, forcing them to choose an early death.

"If suicide is all we offer people, that's all they will take," Mr Finn said.

FULL STORY

Voluntary euthanasia: Victorian debate to pave way for an NT attempt to revive or renew legislation (ABC News)

Euthanasia debate continues in Victoria (SkyNews Australia)

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