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Historic Dying with Dignity Law Passes in Victoria

22 Nov 2017

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader 

Tasmanians who support the right to die with dignity will welcome news the Victorian Parliament has passed voluntary assisted dying legislation.  

The passage of the Victorian dying with dignity law represents a major step forward for compassionate reform in Australia.

The majority of Victoria’s State representatives voted with courage, kindness and common sense.  In doing so, they have made history and more importantly, they have responded to the overwhelmingly strong public sentiment that a safe, legal framework for voluntary assisted dying is needed.

On three separate occasions since 2009, the Tasmanian Parliament has debated dying with dignity legislation. Every time, it has been defeated by the Liberals voting as a block with the exception of Franklin Liberal, Nic Street, who broke ranks to support the legislation Lara Giddings and I brought on for debate in May this year.

Each day without this legislation and a safeguarded framework in place is another day of extreme suffering and potentially tragic choices for people for whom palliation does not and cannot provide relief. 

Polls have consistently showed 80-85% public support for voluntary assisted dying legislation at a State and national level. Tasmanians are compassionate, caring people, who feel very strongly about personal autonomy and human rights.  The vast majority of Tasmanians want the choice to die with dignity, for themselves and their loved ones.

We should all have the choice to end our lives with dignity if palliative can’t relieve our pain and suffering.

If re-elected, in the next term of Parliament, I will reintroduce dying with dignity legislation, hopefully with cross party support. I hope the new Tasmanian parliament, with a new make-up, will follow Victoria’s compassionate and historic lead.