We have the encouraging news that the Victorian Parliament lower house has passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 by 47 votes to 37. It now has to go the the upper house for a vote there, so it is certainly not a foregone conclusion.
It was with considerable emotion that I watched the final vote in the Victorian Parliament Lower House on Friday morning 20th October after a debate of marathon proportions.
I trust that the Victorian Upper House will be equally supportive so that the Bill can be finally enacted.
Sincere thanks go to Health Minister Hennessy and Premier Andrews, Andrew Denton and the Go Gentle Australia team, Dying with Dignity, Prof. Brian Owler, the MPs who spoke and voted in support of this legislation and all the others involved in the research and effort to get the VAD Bill to this stage.
This is an important step in giving all Australians the additional option of compassionate choice in dying as well as access to the best possible palliative care.
We are all aware this additional choice is supported by a substantial majority of Australians, including around 70% of Christians.
Since the Northern Territory law was passed 20 years ago, only to be overridden by PM Howard and the Federal Government the following year, there have been at least 30 other attempts. Opposition by a vocal religious hierarchy has been the main reason why these attempts have failed. The Federal Government cannot overturn state legislation.
I encourage supporters in every state to talk with or write to their Members of Parliament NOW! If your MP supports the issue, please encourage them. If they are undecided or oppose, ask them to explain their concerns or objections in detail. If these concerns or objections are passed on to me via our website contact form, I will endeavour to respond to them as soon as possible.