Victoria Just Became The First State To Legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying

A day of compassion

voluntary assisted dying

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After more than 100 hours of debate in parliament, MPs have voted to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, becoming the first state in Australia where euthanasia will be legal.

From mid-2019, patients in Victoria will be legally allowed to request a lethal drug to end their lives. The legislation passed the Upper House 22 votes to 18 last week, with a number of amendments which had to be approved before the bill could become a law. Those amendments included restricting eligibility to the scheme to patients who have 6 months to live. The original bill allowed patients with 12 months to live ability to access the scheme. Now that these changes have been approved, the bill will go to the governor for royal assent, although this is just a formality.


Protections in the legislation include a special review board for all cases, and 68 safeguards, including new criminal offences to protect vulnerable people from abuse and coercion.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who became an advocate for euthanasia laws after the death of his father last year, said that he was “proud we put compassion right at the centre of the parliamentary and political processes.”

“This is a day of reform, a day of compassion and a day of giving control to those who are terminally ill,” he said.

Health minister Jill Hennessy acknowledged the length of debate around the contested bill, also saying:

“We’ve had some frustrating moments, but ultimately we have landed in a place where Victorians who are confronted terminal illnesses, that are enduring unbearable pains, will have a safe and compassionate option around assisted dying.”

The government has acknowledged that many  of those with terminal illnesses are frustrated by the 18 month “implementation period”, which has been put in to place to finalise outstanding details and to determine which lethal drugs will be used for the procedure.

The historic vote comes soon after a similar legislation was defeated in NSW by only one vote.