Australia Update

By mid 2021, one third of people in Australia will have the choice of legal voluntary assisted dying, through the Victorian and Western Australian Voluntary Assisted Dying Acts.

 

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Debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill resumed on March 17, 2021. See Hansard here. Hon Kyam Maher, MLC and Shadow Attorney General, tabled the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Hon Susan Close, MP, tabled the same VAD Bill in the House of Assembly on the same day. The VAD Bill was jointly sponsored by Hon Mark Parnell, MLC. The VAD Bill follows the 18 month deliberations of the Joint Committee on End of Life Choices which reported to the Parliament in October 2020. (Further details, facebook links to Second Reading speeches and Hansard available here) (Mar 2021)

 

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The Queensland Premier, Hon Alexandra Palaszczuk, announced her intention to introduce legislation to legalise voluntary assisted dying. It is anticipated that the legislation will be tabled in May 2021. This follows the March 2020 report of an 18 month Parliamentary Inquiry which recommended in favour of introducing a law to allow voluntary assisted dying. A recent poll commissioned by the Clem Jones Trust showed majority public support for law reform. (Mar 2021)

 

Independent MP Alex Greenwich announced in Dec 2020 that he would introduce a new Bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying. This is the latest move after the defeat of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 201,7 drafted by a cross-party Parliamentary Working Group on Assisted Dying and introduced in the NSW Parliament by Nationals MLC Trevor Khan May 2017. It was debated in the upper house in November 2017 but was defeated 20 votes to 19. NSW had expected another VAD Bill to be introduced in 2019, however, a divisive Abortion Law Reform debate in August 2019 saw proponents reluctant to proceed. (Dec 2020)

 

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The Tasmanian Parliament is one step away from legalising voluntary assisted dying. The End of Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill passed the Legislative Council unanimously on December 4, 2020, and through the House of Assembly on March 4, 2021. Amendments passed in the lower house are expected to be agreed to in the upper house later in March. The Bill was introduced by Tasmanian Independent MLC Mike Gaffney on August 27, 2020, after eight months of consultation around the state. The last Bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying in the Tasmanian Parliament was defeated in May 2016 - the third Bill defeated by the Tasmanian Parliament in the last 10 years. (Mar 2021)

The Victorian Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in November 2017.

Over the following 18 months, Regulations, policies, operating guidelines and training were developed and the Act came into effect on June 19, 2019. Reports, details of the operation of the VAD Review Board, further information, available here. (Mar 2021)

 

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The Speakers of the ACT and NT Parliaments petitioned the Senate President in August to restore Territory rights. 

This followed the earlier defeat of the Leyonhjelm Bill (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/15/euthanasia-bill-in-doubt-as-two-senators-reverse-position) to repeal the Act which prevents Territories legislating for voluntary assisted dying (known as the Andrews Bill). 

 

WA became the second state in Australia to deliver a legal choice of Voluntary Assisted Dying. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed the House of Assembly on Dec 10, 2019, and is expected to come into effect by mid 2021. The WA Parliament conducted a year long Parliamentary Inquiry, followed by an Expert Panel which advised on the detail of the legislation. The Panel included Dr Roger Hunt, SA Palliative Care Physician, who was also a member of the Victorian Government's Expert Panel. The WA Parliament released the report of the Inquiry into End of Life Choices in August 2018. The Inquiry Report recommended the introduction of voluntary assisted dying in WA. (report available here.)   (Dec 2020)

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Representatives from the NT Government and Opposition supported a petition to the Senate President to restore Territory rights. The NT Speaker, and government and opposition MPs, travelled to Canberra in August to present the remonstrance motion.    (Sept 2018)

 

VADSA      phone    0421 305 684           email   [email protected]        post    PO Box 2151 Kent Town, SA 5071