How Fiona Patten and REASON Initiated Voluntary Assisted Dying in Victoria

On the day that she was elected to the Victorian Upper House, Fiona Patten was asked by journalists what her first priority would be in parliament. She told them that she had made a commitment to voluntary euthanasia advocate, Peter Short, who was dying of cancer, that she would make voluntary assisted dying legal. The Premier, Daniel Andrews was asked on the same day what he thought of her plan. He said it would not happen.

Peter Short died not long after that but Fiona never forgot that promise so on 19th April 2015, Reason Party leader, Fiona Patten, moved a motion in the Victorian Upper House to set up a parliamentary enquiry into end of life choices as a way of kick-starting the debate around voluntary assisted dying. The motion referenced advanced care directives and planning, palliative care and physician assisted dying. She then entered into negotiations with senior government members about how to progress the issue. Following these discussions, the government took her motion and referred it themselves to the Legal and Social Issues Committee, of which she was a member. 

 The Committee then travelled around Victoria hearing evidence from individuals and organisations before going overseas to talk to legislators and organisations who had been involved in introducing  Voluntary Assisted Dying laws. The Bill which passed the Victorian Upper House on 22nd Nov 2017, after 61 hours of debate, including two all night and next day sittings, was crafted from the recommendations of that Committee. 



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  • Brett Burnett
    Well done and much kudos to you all.