The Victorian Government has today refused to heed desperate last-minute calls for an indefinite deferral of the misnamed Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Considering the bill this week in the Legislative Assembly after it passed the Legislative Council last week, a forceful case was put by several Coalition MPs that the bill was so dangerous and flawed that to pass it would bring the Victorian parliament into international disrepute.

“Coalition speakers supported an amendment by the Hon. Robert Clark MLA that under these circumstances the bill should be deferred indefinitely,” ACL Victorian director Dan Flynn said.

“With fingers in its ears, the Government refused to accept that the process should be delayed and has passed the bill, disregarding the plight of vulnerable frail people who will be collateral damage in the new ‘assisted suicide regime’.

“In an attempt to quash the bill, Mr Clark pointed out that the Government has spectacularly failed to fund the shortfall in palliative care, leaving about 10,000 Victorians dying each year without proper palliative care and pain relief.

“The rush to make suicide pills for the terminally ill available at chemists is a disgraceful substitute for palliative care.

“The amendments rushed through the Legislative Council last week in an all-night sitting do nothing to prevent the establishment of death clinics staffed by doctor advocates who will give the so-called safeguards scant regard”, Mr Flynn said.

“No doubt this law will be used to the disadvantage of hundreds of elderly frail people who will see the so-called ‘right to die’ as the ‘duty to die’.

“We know that the elderly have already internalised the view that they are a burden to their family and carers. There is no doubt that the Government has opened the door to the killing of people who may die because of mistakes or pressure from others.

“The ACL encourages MPs in other states and territories considering euthanasia proposals to read Mr Clark’s speech which catalogues the shortcomings of euthanasia legislation. 

The ALP Government said it had ‘no plans’ in relation to euthanasia before the 2014 state election so it would appear it rushed this bill through three all night sittings to avoid being exposed in the 2018 election year,” Mr Flynn said.

However, the bill will be front and centre at the November 2018 election. If sufficient clear-sighted MPs are elected in November 2018, the euthanasia crisis can be averted. The legislation can be repealed in early 2019, before any wrongful deaths occur under the scheme, which is otherwise due to commence in June 2019.”