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Labor MP Marlene Kairouz. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
Labor MP Marlene Kairouz. Picture: Stuart McEvoy

Euthanasia: Assisted dying figures alarming, Labor MP Marlene Kairouz says

Hon Marlene Kairouz, Minister for Trade, in the Victorian government who opposed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 and is not afraid to speak out about it! 

Victorian Labor frontbencher Marlene Kairouz says she is deeply concerned about the number of people "committing suicide" under the Andrews government's voluntary assisted dying legislation following revelations yesterday that more than 50 people ended their lives under the scheme between June and December.

The Consumer Affairs Minister was one of five lower house Labor MPs who exercised a conscience vote and opposed Labor's legislation in 2017.

The voluntary assisted dying review board's inaugural six-monthly report, tabled in state parliament on Wednesday, found 52 people had ended their lives between June 19 and December 31, 2019, with 81 obtaining permits to have lethal drugs administered.

Ms Kairouz said the Andrews government was otherwise working hard to lower suicide rates across the community.

"We have a Minister for Mental Health who is doing some really wonderful work to lower the suicide rates," she said.

"It'd be no surprise to anybody that I have some concerns about the number of people who are taking their lives (under the voluntary assisted dying scheme).

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said he was concerned about the administrative errors revealed in the report, which revealed "83% of cases required forms to be returned for clarification or provision of missing eligibility information".

The report also stated that 19 applications for voluntary assisted dying permits had been withdrawn, for reasons including "administrative error or confirmation of death by means other than voluntary assisted dying".

"I'm very interested to find out, what are those administrative errors?" Mr O'Brien said.

Excerpt from "The Australian" 20/2/20, RACHEL BAXENDALE, VIC POLITICAL REPORTER

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