By SHANE DOUTHIE
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.