Historic voluntary euthanasia laws have passed Victoria’s lower house after MPs endured a marathon sitting overnight and well into Friday morning.
The legislation will head to Parliament’s upper house next month, with assisted dying supporters hopeful they have the numbers to pass the momentous laws.
Victoria will be the first state in Australia to offer an assisted dying regime if the legislation is passed.
The bill passed the lower house with 47 votes for and 37 votes against about 11.20am.
Exhausted MPs sat through a gruelling session as opponents moved hundreds of amendments in an effort to delay the passage of the bill.
Deputy Premier James Merlino, a fierce opponent of the legislation, had proposed an amendment that would have killed off the bill, long-championed by Labor as a flagship policy.
Liberal member for Box Hill, Robert Clark, spent hours poring line by line over the 160 clauses in the legislation.
By 10am everyone on Spring Street was wondering when Mr Clark might finally close his eyes, or at least stop talking.
But all amendments were defeated.
Shortly before the vote, Ms Hennessy thanked her parliamentary colleagues and paid tribute to the “indefatigable” Mr Clark.
There was a short applause in the chamber once the numbers were in, and some MPs wiped tears from their eyes.
Colleagues milled around Health Minister Jill Hennessy congratulating her for her work guiding the legislation through the lower house.
Transport minister Jacinta Allan, who supported the bill, said the vote sent a “strong message” to the upper house seeking its support.
She said she maintained a strong, respectful relationship with Mr Merlino, despite tensions about his opposition to the bill.
“He took his own personal principled view on this legislation,” she said. “It was well known from the outset he carried that through the course of the debate and [his] position deserves respect.”
Euthanasia advocate and director of Go Gentle Australia, Andrew Denton, watched the entire debate from the public gallery. The TV personality, who has been diagnosed with advanced heart disease, embraced supporters after the vote.
After the bill passed, Speaker Colin Brooks issued a final plea to MPs to “think carefully” about how they travelled home, with many country representatives facing a long drive back to their electorates.
Debate over the divisive bill began at 9.30am on Thursday. It continued throughout the night, pausing only for two short 30-minute breaks.
The proposed laws state terminally ill people with less than 12 months to live and who are suffering unbearable pain will be able to request lethal medication.
The Age 20th October