Australian Conservatives MLC Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins said this afternoon that the misnamed Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017, which seeks to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia, passed the Legislative Council today by 22 votes to 18 - after a second marathon overnight debate.
Dr Carling-Jenkins - Member for Western Metropolitan Region and State Parliamentary Leader of Australian Conservatives - stated “I am extremely disappointed to see this bill pass the Legislative Council. With the balance of power after the 2018 Victorian Election, the Australian Conservatives will ensure that legislation like this does not see the light of day.”
"The Government rushed the legislation through by taking the rare step of adding an extra sitting week and regularly gagging the debate," Dr Carling-Jenkins added, "This was completely unnecessary, as the implementation date of the 19th of June 2019 would remain unchanged regardless of the conclusion of the debate. Members were forced to sit for 2 marathon sessions over the course of the past week, with one member being sent to hospital during one of the overnight sittings."
"Throughout the course of the debate, probing questions exposed many of the alleged safeguards in the Bill as illusory," Dr Carling-Jenkins revealed, saying "Areas of concern include:
- At key points in the process, witnesses could be inheritance-impatient heirs keen to encourage or hasten the assisted suicide or euthanasia of an inconvenient elderly relative,
- Requests for assisted suicide or euthanasia could be made by gestures by people unable to communicate verbally,
- The deadly poison will be an experimental lethal cocktail with unknown risks and efficacy, and
- This poison could be stored unsecured at home for months as there is no penalty for failing to keep it in a locked box."
"The passing of this bill will see Victoria become the first state in the world to issue death permits to its citizens as state sanctioned suicide. People will die prematurely and unnecessarily as a result of this bill and the responsibility will lie solely with those who have voted in favour of Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide."