Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews joins 7.30 to discuss his stance on euthanasia, energy policy and family violence.
Daniel Andrews, interviewed by Leigh Sales for the 7.30 report on Thursday 8 December, on the plan for introducing a Voluntary Euthanasia bill in Victoria. The section starts 3.21 minutes into the clip.
Watch the clip or read the transcript below:
LEIGH SALES: On another matter your Government announced today that it will introduce legislation into the State Parliament next year for legalised voluntary euthanasia and you're setting up an expert panel to help draft that legislation.
What do you think is the time frame on that for a likely vote?
DANIEL ANDREWS: We will introduce a bill, a bill with all the safeguards that we need. So a compassionate set of arrangements for those who are being let down by the current system.
We will introduce that bill in the second half of next year and I think the whole matter can be determined one way or the other before the end of 2017.
LEIGH SALES: You've said your father's death earlier this year and his long illness from cancer has changed your views on this issue.
Is it alright if I ask you about that in a little more detail?
DANIEL ANDREWS: Sure.
LEIGH SALES: I know it's recent so ...
DANIEL ANDREWS: No, that's fine, Leigh.
LEIGH SALES: What were your father's final weeks like?
DANIEL ANDREWS: They were the final weeks of someone who had been a very big person, a big person in stature and in the contribution he made in our family and in the community that he loved and he was a big figure in my life obviously.
He withered away, in great pain. He passed away many weeks before he died, Leigh. He was not the person that I knew and loved at the end of his cancer journey.
And that might be described as a good death. There are many people who go through far more painful and frankly horrific weeks and months at the end of their life.
We can do better. We can do much better and that's why I'm determined to put a bill before the Victorian Parliament with the safeguards necessary to make sure that we empower people to exercise a choice with compassion.
Of course with rigour and process around that. I think we can get that balance right.
LEIGH SALES: People who don't support euthanasia say that palliative care is enough to ensure a comfortable, dignified death. Was that the case for your father?
DANIEL ANDREWS: Oh, look, there's no criticism of the care my dad got. I was a health minister for many years, but to see it as a family member of a patient, I'm in awe of our palliative care people.
Those specialists, our doctors, our nurses, they do amazing work. This is not in any way a criticism of them.
But there are real gaps, palliative care, pain relief as we know it can only go so far.
That's why the coroner terribly has to report to us that over a three or four year period in recent years some 240 Victorians have taken their own life.
There's a gap here and we need to fill that gap with a responsible new set of laws that are compassionate but have safeguards as well.
Let's have this debate.
We've ducked this difficult issue for far too long. I know my view has changed based on my own personal experiences.
I think the Parliament's ready to pass these laws if they're drafted well. That's what I'm going to do, put a good bill to the floor of the Parliament and let's see what happens.
LEIGH SALES: Premier, thank you very much for your time this evening.