The state of Victoria is set to become the first in Australia to legalise euthanasia after the upper house of the state’s parliament approved a Bill earlier today. The 40-member Legislative Council approved an amended version of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill by 22 votes to 18. Because the Bill was amended by the upper-house, it will need to be approved again by the 88-member Legislative Assembly next week before becoming law.
In August, the lower house had approved the original version of the Bill by 47 votes to 37. That vote came as the Melbourne Diocesan Synod – meeting metres away, urged politicians to reject it.
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, and six other senior leaders from Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox churches took the unusual step of placing an advert in the Herald-Sun newspaper in August setting out their objection to the Bill. Their advert said that “human dignity is honoured in living life, not in taking it.”