Former PM Tony Abbott has labelled Victoria's move to legalise assisted dying a 'dreadful moral watershed' as his father lay ill in a Sydney hospital.
The former prime minister made the comments as his 93-year-old father, Richard, lay in hospital following an apparent serious stroke on Monday morning.
His family has since been keeping a bedside vigil at Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga.
"This is the vigil that families from time to time have to keep over a loved one - it's the respect of the living over the dying," he told Sydney's 2GB on Wednesday.
He said he was shocked to hear that Victoria's upper house had earlier voted in favour of voluntary assisted dying, which will become law once amendments are approved by the lower house.
"People who are gravely ill should have their pain relieved, not their lives ended," Mr Abbott said.
"This is a dreadful moral watershed in our country's life."
He said the debate around same-sex marriage had distracted from the push to legalise doctor-assisted dying.
He hopes a future Victorian parliament reverses the move.