The Andrews Labor Government will introduce legislation later this year to legalise voluntary assisted dying for terminally ill people in Victoria.
The Bill will be consistent with the assisted dying framework outlined in Recommendation 49 in the Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into end of life choices report.
The report recommends adults with decision making capacity, suffering from a serious and incurable condition who are at the end of their life be provided assistance to die in certain circumstances.
While the Government acknowledges the significant work undertaken by the Legal and Social Issues Committee, we believe more needs to be done on the practical detail in Recommendation 49 to support the drafting of legislation, and to ensure a workable scheme with strong safeguards.
In summary the following steps will be taken in 2017:
- A Ministerial Advisory Panel made up of clinical, legal, consumer, health administrator and palliative care experts will be established to assist drafting a safe and compassionate legislative framework for assisted dying in Victoria.
- A discussion paper will be released for public comment in early 2017, with targeted stakeholder consultation to follow. There will be opportunities for the community, health professions and organisations such as COTA to feedback on the discussion paper.
- The Government expects to introduce the legislation in the second half of 2017.
COTA will continue to provide accurate and up to date information for older people and all our members. We understand the importance of protection, safety and autonomy in decision making that will underpin this work.
As is the case on all issues of life and death, all Labor Members of Parliament will be granted a conscience vote on the legislation when it is introduced. Liberal Party members will also be afforded a conscience vote.
The Victorian Government responded to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into End of Life Choices in December 2016.
You can download the summary and full report here
COTA’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry is here: