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.
The Death With Dignity Bill 2016, put forth by Liberal MP Dr Duncan McFetridge, had its second reading debate on the evening of Wednesday November 16. It historically passed to the committee stage after three hours of debate, with the vote being 27 for and 19 against.
Following the committee stage amendments debate, and some eight hours of debate in total, the Death With Dignity Bill 2016 failed to pass the lower house in the early hours of the morning on the casting vote of Speaker Michael Atkinson. The vote to progress the Bill to a third reading was 23-23, with Mr Atkinson's vote bringing the noes to 24, defeating the Bill.
MPs were granted a conscience vote for this debate. Many accepted that there was a proven high level of community support but said that would not influence their vote.
Who Voted For A Third Reading:
Ms Frances Bedford, Member for Florey (ALP)
Hon Leon Bignall, Member for Mawson (ALP)
Hon Geoff Brock, Member for Frome (Independent)
Hon Paul Caica, Member for Colton (ALP)
Ms Vickie Chapman, Member for Bragg (Liberal)
Hon Susan Elizabeth Close, Member for Port Adelaide (ALP)
Ms Nat Cook, Member for Fisher (ALP)
Mrs Annabel Digance, Member for Elder (ALP)
Mr Jon Gee, Member for Napier (ALP)
Ms Katrine Hildyard, Member for Reynell (ALP)
Mr Eddie Hughes, Member for Giles (ALP)
Hon Steph Key, Member for Ashford (ALP)
Mr Steven Marshall, Member for Dunstan (Liberal)
Dr Duncan McFetridge, Member for Morphett (Liberal)
Hon Stephen Mullighan, Member for Lee (ALP)
Mr Lee Odenwalder, Member for Little Para (ALP)
Mr Chris Picton, Member for Kaurna (ALP)
Mr David Pisoni, Member for Unley (Liberal)
Ms Isobel Redmond, Member for Heyson (Liberal)
Ms Rachel Sanderson, Member for Adelaide (Liberal)
Hon Jay Weatherill, Member for Cheltenham (ALP)
Mr Corey Wingard, Member for Mitchell (Liberal)
Ms Dana Wortley, Member for Torrens (ALP)
Who Voted Against A Third Reading:
Mr Troy Bell, Member for Mount Gambier (Liberal)
Hon Zoe Bettison, Member for Ramsay (ALP)
Mr Sam Duluk, Member for Davenport (Liberal)
Mr John Gardner, Member for Morialta (Liberal)
Mr Mark Goldsworthy, Member for Kavel (Liberal)
Mr Steven Griffiths, Member for Goyder (Liberal)
Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith, Member for Waite (Independent)
Hon Tom Kenyon, Member for Newland (ALP)
Mr Stephan Knoll, Member for Schubert (Liberal)
Hon Tom Koutsantonis, Member for West Torrens (ALP)
Mr Adrian Pederick, Member for Hammond (Liberal)
Mr Michael Pengilly, Member for Finniss (Liberal)
Hon Tony Piccolo, Member for Light (ALP)
Hon Jennifer Rankine, Member for Wright (ALP)
Hon John Rau, Member for Enfield (ALP)
Hon Jack Snelling, Member for Playford (ALP)
Mr David Speirs, Member for Bright (Liberal)
Mr Vincent Tarzia, Member for Hartley (Liberal)
Mr Peter Treloar, Member for Flinders (Liberal)
Mr Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Member for Stuart (Liberal)
Hon Leesa Vlahos, Member for Taylor (ALP)
Mr Tim Whetstone, Member for Chaffey (Liberal)
Mr Mitch Williams, Member for MacKillop (Liberal)
November 16, 2016
Dr McFETRIDGE ( Morphett ) ( 22:09 ):
Let me first acknowledge the passion and caution with which members of parliament have approached this debate. During the lead-up today, some friendships have been severely strained; others have been cemented. I acknowledge the enormous work and help of the member for Ashford and the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society. More recently, the Go Gentle group, headed by Andrew Denton and David Hardaker, has given this campaign a real boost to get this bill to this place today.
Today, we are able to choose, choose what happens to this bill. We can choose to give life to the legacy Kylie Monaghan wanted to see, we can choose to give South Australians who are dying of a terminal illness the right to choose, to choose the time of their death. They are going to die. They have no choice in that. Remember, we are debating the future of real people in real pain and real suffering. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. They are your family and they are my family. Let us choose to let them go gently.Read more
November 16, 2016
Ms BEDFORD ( Florey ) ( 22:07 ):
I can truly say that I have listened to every contribution to the debate on every bill in the past year, and all I wish to add is that I believe voluntary euthanasia should be part of the suite of end of life treatments available to people, with the necessary checks and balances, of course. We pay great attention to all the opinions in the debate, and we will be looking at all the amendments that come before us, and again, I will be paying a great deal of attention to each of the amendments.
I would like to commend both the member for Ashford, in particular, and the member for Morphett for all their work on this bill. I remember very well perhaps the first bill that we ever dealt with that was a conscience bill on an issue such as this, which was the prostitution debate. I am sure that those of you who were here will remember the long hours that we spent on that and that we divided on almost every clause, something that may actually happen here in the next 24 to 48 hours.
At the very end of the debate the bill was lost and someone said to me, 'What a complete waste of time that was.' I want everyone to remember that that is how our democracy actually works. It is terrific that everyone has had something to say about this matter. This debate has been championed by a great many people, and I would just like to remember our dear friend, Mary Gallnor, here tonight.
November 16, 2016
Ms COOK ( Fisher ) ( 21:45 ):
I rise with pride to speak in support of the Death with Dignity Bill. This has weighed very heavily on me for some time now in parliament under the previous iteration presented by the member for Ashford as a voluntary euthanasia bill. I have not prepared a speech. I thought what I would do is run through some of the things that I have been presented over the past 12 months by people in my electorate—people statewide, nationwide and internationally—and how I have managed to use my own thought processes and my experience through my nursing of over 30 years—yes, over 30 years is a long time—with patients in various types of settings.
One of the settings that comes to mind has done so because of the member for Elder's heartfelt contribution. For some years, I looked after people in an institution who were profoundly disabled. Not all people who are disabled have a deficit with their cognitive ability to rationalise where they want to be on this earth either. Many of them are profoundly physically disabled because of an illness or a degenerative medical condition which leaves them in a situation where they cannot care for themselves.
I could stand here and give you a very specific and colourful description of the reality of what their space is in a bed where they can do nothing for themselves anymore but lie there. They cannot use their bowels themselves and they cannot even do that lying in bed. They have to be elevated up into a position of gravity so that it helps to force this from their stomach. My point of telling you that colourful description, which I hope you can get out of your head before you go home, is that dignity is subjective. Pride is subjective. Suffering is subjective.Read more
Ms WORTLEY ( Torrens ) ( 21:44 ): Tonight, we have heard from so many in this chamber from both sides of the voluntary euthanasia bill debate. I have read the many letters I have received, both for and against, from members of my community. I have spoken to so many of my constituents—health professionals, doctors, nurses, carers, members of community sports clubs, Rotary, Neighbourhood Watch groups, my family and extended family, and advocates from so many representative groups—both for and against voluntary euthanasia.
Like everyone here, I bring my own personal experiences. I have read the many articles written with great passion by those on both sides of the debate. I have discussed the bill with colleagues on both sides and spent many hours considering the previous bill and the one we now have before us. Whatever the outcome of this debate, the decision we make must not be one that puts vulnerable people at risk. The previous bill I could not support. Tonight, I will support this bill through the second reading and consider the amendments and the impact on the final bill.
November 16, 2016
Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 21:31 ):
I would like to add to this debate and say that I listened very closely to my community on this issue. I have listened to both sides of the argument, and I thank the people that have contacted me about this. I have also listened to the people who have spoken in this place on this bill. I was here until the close last night, and again I have listened to what everyone has had to say this evening, and I thank them for their contributions. What I would say on the previous bill put forward by the member for Ashford is that I would not have supported it through the second reading stage, but I have been engaged in listening to what people have had to say on this bill.
I think this is the toughest decision that we will have to make in this place and obviously it is not one to be taken lightly. I have imagined someone with a terminal illness that would be confronted by this issue that we have before us and what they might be thinking. I have also had strong consideration for the vulnerable—someone who is alone and not with the loving support that most of us here in this place would have—and how they might also confront this issue.Read more
November 16, 2016
Mr PICTON ( Kaurna ) ( 21:21 ):
There is no doubt that the policies and laws regarding the end of life are very important but also very difficult issues for parliament and individuals to deal with. It is a melting pot of ethics, spirituality, choice, care, risk and fear. There is a variety of views and perspectives and almost all of them are valid.
I have heard from many people in my electorate who have contacted me about this issue. They are mostly very passionate either for or against this bill. I have closely considered the opinion of each of those constituents and also met with them if they wanted to be heard to discuss their concerns directly. I have also met and listened to people from both sides of the argument and I have tried to seek out some of the opinions of doctors, nurses and other experts in this area who do not have an ideological view to push.
This issue, perhaps more than any other, is for many people a black or white, yes or no question. I can understand that viewpoint but I believe that there are many areas of grey. There are people who would support or oppose a euthanasia bill without concern for the drafting. I am not one of those people. The initial bill that we were asked to consider on this subject was not fit for purpose in my opinion. If it is put to a vote, since it is still on the Notice Paper, I would be unable to support that bill in any way.Read more
November 16, 2016
Ms DIGANCE ( Elder ) ( 21:14 ):
I rise tonight to share reflections on this bill from which many complex conversations and considerations have arisen. These issues and considerations are, rightly so, compounded by deep belief and deep emotion and, for many, profound conviction. I acknowledge the ultimate outcome of this bill being to facilitate an imminent passing as chosen by an individual, enabled through a process of a very personal deed of an individual acting on their own wishes.
In the main, the bill before us proposes a framework of laws to guide and enable a compassionate society on a journey. This bill is unique as it asks all parliamentarians to face issues of mortality, ethics and values, while balancing the wishes of differing viewpoints in the community. It asks every MP—all of us—to reflect, debate and challenge our role, representation and beliefs, while challenging a dialogue of a civilised, mature and compassionate society.
I thank those who have driven this process on both sides of the debate for their dedication and commitment, and also those in this place for the conviction and work on the voluntary euthanasia bill over the years; namely, the late Dr Bob Such and the current members for Ashford and Morphett.Read more
November 16, 2016
Ms CHAPMAN ( Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (20:36):
I rise to speak on the Death with Dignity Bill 2016. Whilst I think it is rather a misnomer of description of what we are about to do, I indicate that unlike all preceding bills in the time I have been in the parliament that have offered this sanction and protection, I will be supporting the second reading. I indicate to you that, whilst the detail has been outlined by a number of members, to me, the thing that is impressive and distinctive about this bill is the proposal to reform our current laws.
Firstly, it allows adults of sound mind to formally request that their suffering be ended at a time of their choosing. Secondly, it ensures that the participation in the making of that request for voluntary euthanasia and the administration of the same be in accordance with strict requirements so as not to amount to a criminal offence or cause a person to suffer any other discrimination or liability. Thirdly, it ensures that the participation in the administration of the voluntary euthanasia in accordance with the rules is not to amount to a criminal offence itself. Finally, it protects those persons who decline to be involved in the making of requests for and the administration of voluntary euthanasia.Read more