Euthanasia bill hits Victorian parliament
Anyone who kills a terminally ill person without permission under Victoria’s proposed assisted dying laws will face life in prison.
The historic and divisive proposal, prepared by Health Minister Jill Hennessy and Attorney-General Martin Pakula, was introduced to parliament on Wednesday.
It will be read a second time today and debate will start in October.
Premier Daniel Andrews promises it will be “the most conservative, most measured” scheme in the world.
He says people who get permits to end their lives will have to self administer the lethal medication under the scheme.
New penalties will also be created so prosecutors do not have to retrofit current crimes, including homicide, if someone takes a life outside the rules.
A doctor or person who administered the medication outside of the permit would face life in jail, Mr Pakula said.
“The regime involves people receiving permits and if those permits are misused … there are severe penalties, up to and including life in prison,” Mr Pakula said.
Anyone who tries to induce a patient into applying for the assisted dying scheme will face five years jail.
A review board and the Department of Health and Human Services will oversee the scheme.
Only adults who are Victorian residents with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of less than 12 months will be able to apply.
Meanwhile, in legislation bound for the New South Wales parliament, terminally ill state residents aged over 25 would be able to end their own lives with medical help.
Nationals MP Trevor Khan is one of the key figures behind a revised, cross-party voluntary assisted dying bill to be introduced today.
A raft of safeguards have been added to the bill after a public consultation received 72 substantive submissions.
“In the face-to-face forums we have held the primary concern received is that the bill doesn’t go far enough,” Mr Khan said.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.