Victoria passes Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

Amanda Lyons

29/11/2017 1:39:49 PM

Victoria has become the first state in Australia to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill patients, following today’s passing of its Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

The road to voluntary assisted dying in Victoria included more than 100 hours of parliamentary debate.
The road to voluntary assisted dying in Victoria included more than 100 hours of parliamentary debate.

The controversial bill, which is scheduled take effect from mid-2019, passed with several amendments, including:

  • A person must have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months before being able to make a request
  • A person with a mental illness must be referred to a psychiatrist for an assessment
  • The assessing doctor must encourage the person to inform their regular doctor of their intention to access voluntary assisted dying, if the assessing doctor is not the person's regular doctor
  • The contact person is required to return any unused voluntary assisted dying substance within 15 days (not 30)
  • The review board has a role to follow-up with the contact person to advise on the safe return of any unused medication
  • The coroner will be informed of voluntary assisted dying deaths
  • Death certificates for people who have chosen voluntary assisted dying will record the manner of death as voluntary assisted dying
In addition, there will be exemptions for patients with conditions such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, who can still fall within the 12-month life expectancy.
Today’s decision is the culmination of a process that saw more than 100 hours of debate in the upper and lower houses of the Victorian Parliament, including two overnight sittings.
Although the debate over the Victorian bill has been controversial, it has stimulated similar discussion in states and territories across the country, with a similar bill recently rejected in New South Wales and recent a push to allow the territories to implement their own legislation.
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