After a marathon overnight debate, in which the Minister for Health dismissed out of hand each one of the well-thought out amendments proposed to make her Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 just a little bit safer for vulnerable Victorians, it passed the Legislative Assembly 47 votes to 37 on Friday 20 October 2017.
Congratulations to all those MPs who moved and supported amendments. Although each of these amendments was defeated their hard work has exposed the stubborn, ideological position of the Minister for Health as caring more about her “perfect” Bill than the genuine well-being of Victorians.
As the assisted suicide and euthanasia Bill moves to the Legislative Council it is now clearer than ever that there is nothing in Hennessy’s “perfect” Bill to:
- protect people suffering with treatable depression from opting for assisted suicide while depressed;
- prevent the establishment of death clinics where two doctors in the same clinic can openly advertise their willingness to facilitate assisted suicide or euthanasia within a few days for people they have never met before;
- protect people from elder abuse and other forms of coercion;
- ensure that lethal drugs are not left in the possession of people who lack decision-making capacity;
- protect doctors and nurses who conscientiously object to participation in assisted suicide and euthanasia from losing their jobs;
- stop people taking lethal drugs prescribed under the Bill out of Victoria;
- stop people moving to Victoria to access assisted suicide or euthanasia within days of arriving here;
- ensure data on the reasons for choosing assisted suicide is collected and published; or
- empower the Coroner to investigate deaths following the prescription of lethal drugs under the Bill even if foul play is suspected.
Most significantly the Minister for Health was unable to give any information about the lethal drugs to be used. All we know is that it is likely to be some experimental lethal cocktail compounded by pharmacists. Nothing will be known about how long between ingestion and loss of consciousness, or between ingestion and death, or about failure rates or complications because there is NO requirement for a health practitioner or even a witness to be present when this experimental lethal cocktail is ingested.
The Minister for Health is offering distressed and vulnerable Victorians a government permit to commit suicide alone at home with an experimental lethal cocktail of drugs instead of gold standard palliative care, equal access to health care for people with disability, protection from elder abuse by inheritance impatient heirs and suicide prevention for all, including depressed people with deteriorating physical health.
If you live in Victoria sign the epetition to the Legislative Council and contact your five members of the Legislative Council and urge them to vote against the Bill.