Euthanasia to be legal in Victoria from 2019

Wednesday, 29th November, 2017

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said there would be a 'safe, sensible and robust system'. Photo: AAP

DYING Victorians will be able to legally end their own lives after State Parliament passed the government's voluntary assisted dying bill on Wednesday morning.

After more than 100 hours of sometimes rancorous debate, the bill had a low-key final passage through the lower house just before midday.

But the government has acknowledged that people with painful terminal illnesses will be disappointed that the laws will not come into force until 2019.

The legislation calls for an 18-month "implementation period" to finalise outstanding details and the exact nature of the lethal drugs that will be used.

"I know this is a disappointment to some people who have a terminal illness," Health Minister Jill Hennessy said after Wednesday's vote.

"But the bill does require an 18-month implementation period.

"We have been very dedicated to the task of developing this bill and we're going to be equally dedicated to the task of getting a safe, sensible and robust system in place."

The government had to overcome a last stand on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning by opponents who were determined not to let the bill pass without a fight.

Substantial amendments had been agreed to overcome opposition in the upper house two weeks ago, including lowering the proposed life-expectency threshold from 12 months to six and committing more money to palliative care.

 The Age

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