THE VICTORIAN Greens are putting their weight behind the Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill 2008, dubbed by its supporters “Dying with Dignity” legislation.
Greens party representative Colleen Hartland sought leave for the second reading of the bill in the Victorian Parliament on 28 May.
The Bill provides for an adult who is suffering intolerably from a terminal or advanced incurable illness to seek a prescription for a drug to die peacefully.
The Bill was created with the assistance of Dying with Dignity Victoria, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Victoria
Hartland said personal issues influenced her support of the controversial legislation: “I have decided to put forward this Bill as I have witnessed a number of deaths of close friends and family. I believe there has to be a better way for dealing with the end of life. This Bill provides both safeguards and compassion.”
Hartland hosted an information forum at Parliament House on 29 May, with Neil Francis from Dying with Dignity Victoria and Lisa Fitzpatrick, the Secretary of the Australian Nurses Federation (Victorian Branch) speaking in support of the legislation.
It is anticipated that the Bill will be debated in the Legislative Council in June. If successful, MP Ken Smith has already pledged his to give his support to the legislation in the Legislative Assembly.