Victoria’s next fatal step

In a development that is surprising to no one, the euthanasia activists in Victoria, backed by progressive media outlets, are pushing for so-called safeguards in the law to be repealed at the very first opportunity.

When Victoria became the first Australian state to commence a euthanasia and assisted suicide regime in June 2019, its advocates claimed that it would not put the vulnerable at risk because of a number of ‘safeguards’ built into the legislation.

As sure as night follows day, they are now pushing for a number of the most important safeguards to be removed.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, some advocates are calling the safeguards “obsolete” and pushing for them to be removed in the lead up to the first review of the legislation, which is due to begin in June of this year.

Here are some of the things they want to see changed:

  • The regime should be expanded to include those who have not been resident in Victoria for at least 12 months, allowing people with no connection to Victoria (and who have perhaps been rejected in other states) to die there;
  • Allow doctors to sign off on a patient’s death using telehealth, removing the need for a doctor to meet or physically examine a patient before signing off on their death;
  • Remove the need for a patient to be assessed by a specialist in their condition, allowing those with no expertise in a patient’s illness to offer a prognosis and approve their death;
  • Lift the rule that requires someone to have six months to live before being able to apply for euthanasia, suggesting instead that they should be able to start applying for euthanasia or assisted suicide as soon as they receive their shocking, fatal diagnosis;
  • Allow doctors to initiate conversations about euthanasia and assisted suicide with their patients, even if they haven’t asked about it, disregarding the influential power doctors have over vulnerable patients. 

Activists want the reach of the legislation to be expanded, even though it is already responsible for more than one death every 48 hours in Victoria, far outstripping the initial estimates given by Premier Dan Andrews and already reaching the number of annual deaths that Oregon took 17 years to achieve.

It’s hard to see why expansion is necessary; there are already a significant number more deaths than anyone expected.