MEMBER for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan will vote in support of voluntary assisted dying laws when they come before the Victorian parliament in the coming weeks.
Ms Allan, a senior cabinet minister in the Andrews government, has held off on outlining her views while she discussed the matter with locals, experts and her own family.
MPs will be granted a conscience vote on the legislation, which will allow people with terminal illness to access lethal medication within 10 days of asking, subject to a range of safeguards.
Ms Allan said she had wanted to hear the views of all concerned before making her decision.
“I came into this debate initially undecided, and after much thought and consideration, I’ll be supporting the legislation when it goes before the parliament,” she said.
“It is probably the personal stories, and I think with this issue, our views as members of parliament are deeply shaped by the personal experiences we’ve had in our life’s journey.
“I’ve also spoken to my own family about their views on this matter.
“These are really personal views, thoughts and decisions.”
Professor Brian Owler lead a panel to look at how an assisted dying regime could be implemented in Victoria, and came back with 66 recommendations – all of which will be adopted as part of the legislation.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards voiced her support of an assisted dying regime when the recommendations were released in July.
It is unclear whether the government will have enough votes to pass the legislation through parliament, buts its tabling – expected next week – will trigger a debate on the issue next month.
The patient must have decision-making capacity, be diagnosed with an incurable disease that will cause death within 12 months with pain that cannot be relieved.
Two doctors – one an expert on the illness – will make an assessment before the patient can make the decision. The doctors may also refer the patient to a psychiatrist if mental illness is suspected.
The Victorian laws have been described as the most conservative in the world.
Ms Allan said the public could have confidence that appropriate safeguards would be in place.
“I did take comfort and satisfaction that the regime that has been put in place is a very strict one, it has a number of safeguards,” she said.
“For some people who may be at the end of their life, knowing that there is this choice available to them gives them some relief.”