A handy reference website on each state and territories’ end-of-life laws

Australia has a complex array of end-of-life laws because each state and territory has its own laws, say QUT’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR) directors Professors Ben White and Lindy Willmott.


“While it is difficult to think or talk about when you are fit and healthy, there comes a time in most people’s life when they or a family member will be faced with making end-of-life decisions,” Professor Willmott said.


“At ACHLR we have found the laws differ significantly between jurisdictions on such issues as advance care planning and medical treatment at the end of life.


“We have responded to this with an information website and an ongoing study Enhancing community knowledge and engagement with law at the end of life.”


Professor White said ACHLR’s website End-of-Life Law in Australia helped fill the gaps in people’s knowledge and awareness of these laws and their rights and responsibilities.


“The website is a handy reference on each state and territories’ end-of-life laws and answers questions such as:

  • Is euthanasia and assisted suicide legal in Australia?

  • Who makes medical treatment decision for a person unable to make decisions themselves?

  • Does a doctor have to follow a person’s instructions in an advance directive?

  • Can a dying patient or their family refuse or demand medical treatment to keep the patient alive?”

Professor Willmott said the study into community knowledge in this area included interviewing people with a terminal illness about their experience in end-of-life decision-making.


“We are also interviewing family members who have been involved in medical decision-making for loved ones,” she said.

“This research aims to improve end-of-life decision-making and ensure that everyone can be well-informed so that they can participate fully in these decisions.”


People who have a terminal illness or their family members, particularly those living in New South Wales or Victoria, who would like to participate in the study can contact Michele Ferguson on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (QUT HREC Approval No: 1500001069)


11 June 2017.