Death Bill pledge
Palliative package to help euthanasia vote
A NEW $62 million palliative care package has been pledged by the Andrews Government in a desperate bid to get its voluntary euthanasia bill through State Parliament.
Amendments to the bill, including a shorter time frame under which most terminally ill Victorians can apply to die and a new residency requirement, will also be made in a bid to satisfy undecided MPs.
A dramatic week is expected in the Legislative Council, with extended sitting hours and a special Friday session of Parliament likely to get the draft laws to a vote.
The Herald Sun can reveal a Nationals MP who fractured her shoulder in a car crash last week will be in the chamber to vote against the plan.
Melina Bath, who has been recovering in hospital since last week, said: “I’m determined to be in Parliament because I feel so strongly about voting against this Bill”.
“I am in a very uncomfortable state at the moment but I’ve taken advice from medical staff about how to manage.”
Late yesterday AttorneyGeneral Martin Pakula said the government’s 11th-hour changes to the bill would not affect the overall structure or “integrity” of the government’s scheme.
It would still allow terminally ill Victorians of sound mind to apply for lethal medi- cation if given approval by two doctors.
But rather than have 12 months before their expected death to apply for the scheme, most patients would only have six months under the amendments.
Exemptions would be made for people with certain disorders such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis.
People would also have to prove they have been a Victorian resident for 12 months.
Labor MP Jaala Pulford said the $62 million package for end-of-life support and palliative care would be paid over five years, with most focus on services for country areas.
Most of the money will go towards more specialist doctors and nurses in the bush, as well as home-based palliative care through hospital and community sector providers.
A $6.25 million 24-hour expert palliative care advice line would also be created.
The late changes were slammed by Liberal MPs and euthanasia opponents Inga Peulich and David Davis.
The euthanasia bill has up to 20 votes in support, but 21 are needed.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the framework was “very safe and conservative”.