Majority support for a change to end-of-life laws

Labor MP Gayle Tierney.

Labor MP Gayle Tierney.

The majority of upper house representatives for Western Victoria personally believe voluntary euthanasia should be written into the law to prevent unnecessary suffering for terminally ill people.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the representatives would vote in support of a change to current laws likely to be put forward by the Andrews Government.

The insight into the views of representatives including James Purcell, Gayle Tierney and Simon Ramsay follows a move by South-West Coast MP Roma Britnell to reveal her view that laws needed to be changed based on her experience as a nurse.

Labor's Gayle Tierney was clear about her view that change is needed, which she said was based in part on seeing a good friend die from an aggressive form of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

She said over the last 12 months she had been evaluating her views and reflecting on what was really important.

“Existing laws are exceedingly complex and do not provide certainty about how people would like to be supported at the end of their lives,” Ms Tierney said. “There needs to be a way forward that is safe and has the necessary safeguards for people to make informed decisions and have the last part of their life treated with care and dignity.”

Vote 1 Local Jobs’ James Purcell said he had been influenced in part by his wife’s decades-long experience as a nurse.

“My wife has worked in aged care for 20 or 30 years, and hearing the stories of what actually goes on, and people’s wishes and how it actually works, I’ve had support for dying with dignity for a long time,” he said.

Mr Purcell said there were many models overseas that worked well to protect people while letting them die with dignity.

Liberal Simon Ramsay said from a personal perspective he supported change.

“I think there are circumstances where it should be legal for those with a terminal illness who have a decreasing quality of life to make a decision around dying with dignity,” he said.

However, Mr Ramsay said he was yet to discuss the issue with his party and would also need to take into account community views.

Labor’s Jaala Pulford has previously spoken publicly about her support for change, citing her experience of the death of her 13-year-old daughter in 2014.

Liberal MP Joshua Morris did not provide a response.

Labor MP Jaala Pulford.

Labor MP Jaala Pulford.

Liberal MP Simon Ramsay.

Liberal MP Simon Ramsay.

Independent MP James Purcell.

Independent MP James Purcell.

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