Trans-Tasman debate over euthanasia continues

Victorian health minister Jill Hennessy    

Victoria has moved one step closer to legalising euthanasia, with health minister Jill Hennessy announcing that the State government will be legalising future medical directives.

Ms Hennessy announced the legislative changes in a press conference on Wednesday, saying that advance care directives would make patient choices clear to their medical practitioners.

"This is about ensuring that we've got clarity around the law but most importantly it's about changing the culture and the conversations and the practice," she said.

In the same conference, Ms Hennessy said she had "no ethical objection" to voluntary euthanasia, and said that the government would consider its response to the recent Victorian Inquiry into End of Life Choices by the end of the year.

Several government ministers have expressed their support for voluntary euthanasia following Ms Hennessy's comments on Tuesday.

Meanwhile across the Tasman, The New Zealand Medical Association has expressed its opposition to euthanasia, stating that the risks of error and abuse were too high.

"This is an irreversible decision in which the consequences are final", New Zealand Medical Association Chair Dr Stephen Child told a New Zealand parliamentary committee this week.

"Decisions however are often influenced by circumstance, by fear of what the future might hold, by concern for loved ones and by societal expectations, which can cause direct and indirect coercion in decision-making."

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | euthanasia, new zealand, victoria

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