By SHANE DOUTHIE

Myrtleford Times - - News -

TIM McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Val­ley) re­mains un­de­cided on the eve of the as­sisted dy­ing leg­is­la­tion be­ing in­tro­duced to state par­lia­ment next week.

“I’m not lean­ing one way or the other,” Mr McCurdy said.

“I still don’t know how I will vote...I will lis­ten to the de­bate in par­lia­ment and con­tinue to lis­ten to the electorate be­fore I de­cide.”

Mr McCurdy said feed­back he had re­ceived on the is­sue through his of­fice and out in the street was fairly even which con­tra­dicted an Om­niPoll for An­drew Denton’s pro-eu­thana­sia group Go Gen­tle Aus­tralia, which had an 84 per cent of 1000 re­spon­dents say­ing they were in favour of as­sisted dy­ing.

“That’s much higher than what I’ve seen lo­cally, my gut feel­ing on feed­back to me is around 50-50,” he said.

“I per­son­ally sup­port peo­ple hav­ing choices and that’s what this bill’s about.

“I still have some con­cerns (with the bill) about self­med­i­ca­tion is­sues but the big­gest job for an MP is eval­u­at­ing the com­mu­nity’s point of view.”

Mr McCurdy said he would an­a­lyse the feed­back at his of­fice prior to Tues­day when the leg­is­la­tion is ex­pected to be pre­sented to par­lia­ment.

He es­ti­mated it could take most of the en­tire sit­ting week be­fore a re­sult would be known.

The Vol­un­tary As­sisted Dy­ing Bill was pre­sented to par­lia­ment on Septem­ber 20 and sets out a strict re­quest and as­sess­ment process for ac­cess to vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing, and in­cludes the es­tab­lish­ment of a ded­i­cated over­sight body and pro­tec­tions.

The safe­guards aim to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble from ex­ploita­tion and co­er­cion – and new crim­i­nal of­fences will be cre­ated to pro­tect peo­ple from abuse.

The scheme will be self-ad­min­is­tered, with doc­tor ad­min­is­tra­tion only avail­able to those who can­not phys­i­cally ad­min­is­ter or di­gest the med­i­ca­tion them­selves.

Should the Bill pass Par­lia­ment, there will be an 18-month im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod be­fore ac­cess to vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing will start to al­low for train­ing and set up to take place.

Mem­bers of par­lia­ment will have a con­science vote on the Bill.

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