Vic MP to poll public on euthanasia bill

A Victorian upper house MP might listen to his constituents more than his heart when it comes time to vote on the state’s controversial assisted dying laws.


The Labor government’s bill is bound for the further scrutiny in the Legislative Council after passing the lower house 47-37 on Friday, following more than 24 hours of debate over 141 unsuccessful amendments.

Western District MP James Purcell said it’s important for him to represent community views even though he supports the legislation.

“I have started consulting with local constituents and medical professionals regarding this legislation and am now asking the broader community if they believe people who are terminally ill should have the right to die,” he said in statement on Monday.

“It is important that I take into consideration both sides of this incredibly sensitive issue before casting my vote.”

Mr Purcell’s statement comes as two other upper house MPs reportedly decided against supporting the bill.

The Australian says Liberal Georgie Crozier and Nationals Luke O’Sullivan shifted their support for the bill after interventions from former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott.

“I’ve got huge concerns with the bill and won’t be supporting it,” Ms Crozier told the newspaper.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has “reservations” about the bill.

Mr Keating, a Labor heavyweight, said its passage through the lower house was “truly a sad moment for the whole country”.

He also labelled it “deeply regressive legislation”.

If the bill passes by the end of 2017, an 18-month implementation period means the scheme could be in place by mid-2019.

It would not be the first time euthanasia legislation has been enacted in Australia, with the Northern Territory approving laws in the mid-1990s which were later repealed.

Victoria’s parliament sits again on October 31.