Euthanasia bill passes Lower House in Victoria
THE Victorian Lower House of Parliament has narrowly passed controversial euthanasia legislation after a marathon debate that lasted more than 24 hours.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed 47 votes to 37 after a conscience vote.
The bill now heads to the Upper House where, if successfully passed in a fortnight, will become law and allow terminally ill people over the age of 18 to access lethal drugs.
The debate over the bill was contentious with many member making impassioned pleas for both sides of the argument.
"No time to die is ever the right time," Premier Daniel Andrews said before the vote.
"Every year, 50 people experiencing an irreversible deterioration in physical health are resorting to ... the final cry of human desperation.
"This is happening, quietly and violently in our suburbs and towns.
"Nobody should have to live their last days like this."
However, Deputy Premier James Merlino countered by the bill would be "state-sanctioned suicide", arguing there would be too many avenues for the bill to be abused.
"If you say one group of people can be euthanised or assisted to commit suicide, on what basis do you deny other people if this person has a right to die?" he said.
"Why not those with a disability, why not children, why not the frail and elderly, why not those suffering from extreme loneliness or despair, why not those who are simply tired of living?
"This is the line that parliament is considering crossing - state-sanctioned suicide."