Dr Brian Owler and the Victorian Ministerial Advisory panel have today set the Victorian Government on a course of legalising assisted suicide which will be a threat to the most vulnerable in our community – the disabled, aged and the terminally ill.

The Advisory Panel has today put Victoria firmly on the slippery slope, with recommended safeguards already being discarded.

The stringent recommendation of the Parliamentary End of Life Choices Inquiry, that terminally ill patients must be in “enduring and unbearable suffering” to qualify for assisted suicide has been abandoned by Professor Owler.

Instead the Ministerial Advisory Panel tells Victorians that the suffering required to access assisted suicide is not to be subject to any limitations at all.

“Removing the ‘enduring and unbearable’ requirement is already a massive expansion and loosening of what was recommended in the Parliamentary End of Life Choices report released only 12 months ago," ACL Victorian director Dan Flynn said.

“The slippery slope has already begun.

“Victorian doctors are deeply divided over assisted suicide and the AMA has publically stated that doctors should not be involved in any interventions that end their patients’ lives.

Mr Flynn said it was clear that the Government had no mandate to introduce euthanasia.

“Before the 2014 election the Government told the ACL it had no plans to introduce euthanasia but would instead make palliative care effective and fully available in Victoria’s regions,” Mr Flynn said.

“The Andrews Government has not done this, and that is a broken promise.

“The Government is intending to introduce the Oregon assisted suicide model but clearly the Ministerial Advisory Panel has not benefited from international experience.

“49 per cent of those in Oregon in the USA state as their reason for obtaining assisted suicide that they did not want to be a ‘burden on their family and friends’.

“ACL is deeply concerned that a culture of social coercion towards assisted suicide for terminally ill people will take root in Victoria.

“This proposed legislation will send a message to terminally ill people that they are a burden to others and it is their duty to relieve that burden on their family."