Bioethics News

Victoria to debate assisted suicide

The Labor Government of the Australian state of Victoria will introduce legislation into the Parliament next year to legalise assisted suicide. The Labor Party will allow its MPs a conscience vote.

Assisted suicide recently failed in the South Australian Parliament, but only after the Speaker cast the deciding vote. Supporters of change have been buoyed up by their near miss in Adelaide and by a widely publicized campaign orchestrated by media personality Andrew Denton.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is a late convert to the cause of assisted suicide after his father died of cancer earlier this year. “Community sentiment on this issue is changing” he says, “and I know many in Victoria think it’s time we have this debate – a debate that respects people’s views and respects people’s lives.”

A discussion paper will be released for public comment early next year, followed by consultations with stakeholders. The Government expects to introduce the legislation in the second half of 2017.

Victorian Sex Party MP Fiona Patten welcomed the Government’s “bold” move. “Allowing terminally ill people the right to die when they choose with dignity, is not only compassionate but common sense,” she said.

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.