Anglicans in Melbourne have pleaded with Victorian State MPs not to pass legislation permitting medically assisted suicide.

State MPs, who have a conscience vote on the issue, are currently debating the Bill in State Parliament.

Meeting in St Paul's Cathedral in their annual synod on Thursday night, Anglicans in Melbourne voted to oppose the introduction of a legal framework for "assisted dying" but urged the Government to better resource palliative care - especially in regional and remote communities, Aboriginal communities and nursing homes - and to provide more palliative care training for health professionals.

Earlier, medical ethicist Denise Cooper-Clarke told the synod that the Bill's safeguards were inadequate, that it was inherently discriminatory and that improved palliative care was a safer and more compassionate way to address "bad deaths".

“Elderly, frail and sick patients are especially vulnerable to implied or explicit messages from relatives that they are a burden and that they would be ‘better off dead’," Dr Cooper-Clarke said. "It is naïve to assume that people always have the best interests of their relatives at heart. Elder abuse is prevalent in our society."

She noted that many people support assisted dying "because they believe it is a compassionate response to suffering". "But how is it compassionate to agree with someone who is so distressed that they wish to end their life that, yes, their life is not worth living, and, yes, they would be better off dead?”

MPs began debating the Bill legalising voluntary euthanasia on Thursday morning and, following a marathon overnight session, debate was continuing this morning. There is no immediate end to the debate as yet in sight.

Update: The Bill passed the Victorian Parliament's lower house on Friday morning after a 26 hour debate with 47 MPs voting for it and 37 against it.