Euthanasia laws pass first test in Victorian Upper House

woman's hands folded over in hospital bed
The debate over assisted dying has captured the nation's attention.

Assisted dying is one step closer to being made legal today after the voluntary euthanasia scheme narrowly passed the Upper House in Victorian parliament.

MPs voted in favour of the bill 22 votes to 18.

The proposal will now move to the next stage of the debate, but is likely to face more hurdles before being made legal.

Victorian MPs have been debating the issue both in and out of parliament for months now, with many sharing deeply personal stories to demonstrate why the controversial bill should pass.

A number of key clauses are expected to change in the next round of the debate, including tightening the time frame in which people can apply for the deadly medication from 12 months down to six months.

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The Labor government is still working on securing enough votes to pass the bill with Upper house President Bruce Atkinson telling parliament on Friday that many Australians had concerns palliative care was not able to effectively relieve suffering.

“To drug a person to the point that they’re comatose is hardly compassion,” Mr Atkinson said in his speech on Friday, reports SBS. 

The proposed scheme has captured the nation’s attention and prompted calls for other states and territories to initiate their own legislation on the issue.

Liberal MP Simon Ramsay told parliament more funding was needed for palliative care before euthanasia was made legal.

“I cannot support a government-sponsored bill that doesn’t provide sufficient palliative care funding,” Mr Ramsay said on Friday.

What are your thoughts? Do you support euthanasia? Or is it too risky?