Well done NSW; now for the Territories
NSW today became the final Australian state to pass a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
The VAD Bill passed the upper house at midday, May 19, 2022, with a vote of 23 for, and 15 against. A couple of hours later, the lower house agreed to the upper house amendments and the VAD Bill was finally through. The VAD Bill had previously been passed by the lower house on November 26, 2021, with an overwhelming majority, 52 to 32.
May 19 is a momentous day for most Australians.
Once all state VAD laws commence, 25.3 million Australians will have a choice to end their suffering at the end of life; however, another 0.7 million Australians who happen to live in the NT and ACT will not have that choice.
So while we can be thankful for the majority, there is still work to do.
There is also still work to do to ensure South Australia’s Health Minister Picton announces a November 2022 commencement date for VAD in South Australia.
All states have nominated a 15 to 18 month waiting period from legislation being passed by Parliament to commencement of VAD, except for South Australia. South Australians are currently being told to wait longer than any other state, with the previous government nominating a 21 month gap between legislation being passed and commencement of VAD.
There is no reason that South Australians should have to wait the longest of anyone, and that South Australians who could use VAD are instead being made to continue to suffer. The SA legislation is an almost exact copy of currently operating legislation in Victoria and very similar to the WA VAD Act, both of which have been in operation for nearly three years (Victoria) and nearly one year (WA).