Victoria’s historic euthanasia bill passes vote
FORMER Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed his "shock" over the news that the state of Victoria is set to become the first Australian state to legalise voluntary euthanasia after a historic vote in parliament.
The law will make it legal for doctors to assist in the death of the terminally ill.
In what is no doubt a controversial decision, the bill passed Victoria's Upper House with 22 votes to 18.
But speaking to 2GB's Ben Fordham this afternoon, Mr Abbott, who was speaking by his father's bedside in a NSW hospital after a "serious stroke" on Monday morning, said "people who are gravely ill should have their pain relieved, not their lives ended".
"I very much regret the fact the same-sex marriage debate has very much distracted us from this bid to legalise a doctor assisted dying.
"People's lives have to be respected and this idea that we should end the lives of people who have failed our test of usefulness or have failed our test of what constitutes a decent quality of life is absoutely dead wrong and I hope that a future Victorian Parliament might reverse this.
"Doctors should be healers, they should never be required to be killers."
The Bill, which passed after a marathon 28-hour sitting, will return for a final vote to the Lower House in its amended form. The Bill was debated in its entirety for approximately 100 hours.
MPs were seen weeping in emotional scenes, hugging and consoling colleagues after intense competition from conservative opposition.
The voluntary euthanasia scheme would be open to the terminally ill who are expected to die with six months, or within a year for those with neurodegenerative diseases.