VIC passes voluntary assisted dying laws

The Victorian Parliament has passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill after a comprehensive, historic and passionate debate in both lower and upper houses.

 

Premier Daniel Andrews said, “Victoria is the first state to pass voluntary assisted dying laws in Australia – giving Victorians with a terminal illness the compassion and dignity they deserve at the end of their lives.”

 

The legislation will now go through an 18-month implementation period before it comes into effect in June 2019.

 

Victorians living with a terminal illness will have access to voluntary assisted dying after detailed deliberations resulted in amendments that strengthened the Bill, and maintained its vital integrity and compassion.

 

Some of the amendments include:

  • 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.

 

The legislation is the result of two and a half years of consultation and engagement with Members of Parliament, the community, health, palliative care and legal sectors, including the Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into End-of-Life Choices and the Expert Ministerial Advisory Panel.

 

29 November 2017.