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A gag clause prohibiting physicians from initiating conversations about euthanasia with the terminally ill is one of many legislative safeguards that should be abolished, say advocates pushing for a major reform of Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying legislation. Source: The Age.

Some doctors argue several of Victoria’s 68 safeguards are now obsolete. They are pushing to abolish residency requirements for the terminally ill, lobbying to decriminalise telehealth appointments on assisted dying and calling for a review of both the specialist doctor requirement and six-month terminal diagnosis safeguard.

The Victorian Government must hold a review into the fourth year of the law’s operation and has confirmed it will commence this year after June.

The doctors also want federal law, preventing doctors from communicating about euthanasia via telehealth and modern technology overturned, describing as it as an “extraordinarily prohibitive” measure for people living with a disability and those dying in rural areas.

Melbourne oncologist Cameron McLaren, who has helped dozens of Victorians end their lives lawfully with a lethal substance, said Victoria must start looking at states, such as Queensland, which has implemented a 12-month terminal prognosis for cancer.  He also wants a legal ban on Victorian doctors initiating conversations about voluntary euthanasia to be reviewed.

The latest government figures show 1035 permits to die using prescribed lethal medication have been issued and 604 people have died from taking the substance between June 19, 2019, and June 30 last year. 

The terms of reference of the review are yet to released, but the Andrews Government confirmed a range of safeguards will be examined.


Calls for reform of state’s assisted dying law as Victorians die in peace and heartbreak (By Melissa Cunningham, The Age)

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