As the assisted dying bill comes closer to facing the upper house, the position of some Western Victoria MPs remains unclear.
Despite previously expressing support for changing the law to allow assisted dying, Vote 1 Jobs MP James Purcell is now seeking community feedback to decide his vote.
The bill passed the lower house last week after a marathon sitting during which South West Coast MP Roma Britnell spoke passionately in favour of change.
Ripon MP Louise Staley and Lowan MP Emma Kealy also voted for the bill.
Mr Purcell said it was likely his vote would decide whether voluntary assisted dying became law.
“This is a major decision – a life-changing decision – and while I support the bill personally, I think it’s important that I represent my community in this vote and take into consideration both sides of this incredibly sensitive issue before casting my vote,” Mr Purcell said.
The MP said the bill had 68 safeguards, and was one of the safest and most conservative in the world that promised to provide Victorians with a terminal illness a genuine choice at the end of their lives.
“I have started consulting with local constituents and medical professionals regarding this legislation and am now asking the broader community if they believe people who are terminally ill should have the right to die,” Mr Purcell said.
Mr Purcell has previously said he was influenced by his wife’s experiences as a nurse.
MP Simon Ramsay has not yet indicated how he will vote on the issue, but in October last year he said he personally supported change.
MP Jaala Pulford is a strong supporter of the bill, and has spoken publicly about her support for change in part based on her experiences during the death of her 13-year-old daughter in 2014.
In the past, MP Gayle Tierney has indicated her support, and she will vote for the bill.
“No one should suffer excruciating pain, nor should their loved ones see them suffer. Victorians deserve the best possible end of life care – care that relieves pain and suffering for the terminally ill, and provides empowering support to family, friends and carers,” Ms Tierney said.
“My position has always been that there needs to be strict safeguards in place with a tightly regulated legal framework that ensures that no person and no process can hijack the rights, wishes and protections of terminally ill people.”
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