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Victoria becoming the first State with legally assisted dying (in 2019)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

After passage with 47 to 37 in the Victorian Lower House in a 26 hour marathon session, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 was referred to the Legislative Council of the Upper House for further debate. This Council agreed on November 4 with 22 to 18 to take the bill for detailed consideration: 141 (!) clauses were put forward for debate - clearly a filibustering exercis. The council sat on November 17 for another 28 hours before it adjourned

the considerations to November 21. The Upper House finally on November 21, passed the bill with 22 to 18 with a number of amendments, reason why the bill has to pass the Lower House again: the main amendment being halving the timeframe for eligible patients to access the scheme, from when they are deemed to have 12 months to live, to when they only have six months or less of life. This shorter timeframe brings it into line with the timeframe under the Oregon law, on which the Victorian bill is modelled. 

It is expected this time to be a mere formality for the Lower House, which passed the original bill with a 10 votes majority. When approved definitely, the new Law will come into effect in June 2019, 18 months after approval.

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