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Victoria voluntary euthanasia bill passes lower house


Laws allowing voluntary assisted dying have passed Victoria’s lower house after a marathon debate, with exhausted MPs voting 47-37 to pass the controversial bill.

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After an all-night session in parliament discussing 141 amendments, the Labor Government’s voluntary euthanasia bill passed this morning and will now go to the upper house for further scrutiny.

The proposed laws state terminally ill Victorian residents with less than 12 months to live and who are suffering unbearable pain will be able to request lethal medication.

“This is [already] occurring in our community, we can do better, we can do so much better, and today we have,” Premier Daniel Andrews said after the bill was passed.

MPs from the Labor, Liberal and National parties had a conscience vote, and many crossed the floor.

Deputy Premier James Merlino led the Labor opposition to the proposed laws, which survived his attempt to kill them off on Wednesday.

Liberals Brian Paynter and Roma Britnell, and National MP Emma Kealy, were among those to vote in favour.

The proposed bill, which Premier Andrews has described as the most conservative scheme in the world, will now go to the upper house where it is expected to be another tight vote.

Andrews said watching his father die slowly from cancer helped change his mind on assisted dying.

Members opposing the bill put up 141 amendments, none of which were supported, and the bill was eventually passed late this morning.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had “reservations” about the model, but the Federal Government has no power to block Victoria’s decision on the issue.

“It will obviously change the law in a very significant way,” Turnbull told 3AW.

“If I was sitting there in the Victorian parliament I wouldn’t be voting for it.”

Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating said the Victorian bill was “unacceptable”.

“Under Victorian law there will be people whose lives we honour and those we believe are better off dead,” Keating wrote in an opinion piece in Fairfax Media.

Andrews said he got a heads-up from Keating about his comments, and he respectfully disagreed with him.

The Victorian Parliament will sit again on October 31.


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