A Model Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

Ben White, Lindy Willmott


Voluntary assisted dying is a vexed and contested issue. Despite this complexity, over recent years there has been a shift in the national debate as successive governments put the issue of voluntary assisted dying on the political agenda. Reform is likely to be a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. As such, it is imperative now to consider carefully what shape reform should take rather than uncritically adopt the legislative model recently passed by the Victorian Government. In an attempt to widen the Australian debate, the authors offer this Bill and its Explanatory Notes for consideration. Since finalising the manuscript, the authors also note that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 was passed by the Western Australian Parliament.

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Reference List

A Articles/Books/Reports

ACT Legislative Assembly, Select Committee on End of Life Choices in the ACT (Report, March 2019)

McGee, Andrew et al ‘Informing the euthanasia debate: Perceptions of Australian politicians’ (2018) 41(4) University of New South Wales Law Journal 1368

White, Ben and Lindy Willmott, ‘Future of assisted dying reform in Australia’ (2018) 42(6) Australian Health Review 616

White, Ben and Lindy Willmott, ‘How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide’ (2012) 20 Journal of Law and Medicine 410

White, Ben, Lindy Willmott and Eliana Close, ‘Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law: clinical implementation as the next challenge’ (2019) 210(5) Medical Journal of Australia 207

Johnston, Carolyn and James Cameron, ‘Discussing Voluntary Assisted Dying’ (2018) 26(2) Journal of Law and Medicine 454

Commonwealth Secretariat, Changing the Law: A Practical Guide to Law Reform (Report, 2017)

Emanuel, Ezekiel et al, ‘Attitudes and practices of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in the United States, Canada and Europe’ (2016) 316(1) Journal of American Medical Association 79

Department of Health, Government of Western Australia, Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying: Final Report (Discussion paper, HEN-013590, June 2019)

Government of Western Australia, ‘Western Australian Government response: Joint Select Committee on End-of-Life Choices Report, My Life, My Choice’ (Report, WCP-013515, December 2018)

Health Canada, Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying Canada (Report, April 2019)

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee, 56th Parliament of Queensland, Inquiry into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying (Paper No 3, 14 February 2019)

Joint Committee on End of Life Choices, Parliament of South Australia, ‘Terms of Reference’ (April 2019)

Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices, 40th Parliament of Western Australia, My Life, My Choice (Report No 1, August 2018)

Willmott, Lindy and Ben White ‘Assisted dying in Australia: A values-based model for reform’ in Ian Freckelton and Kerry Petersen (eds) Tensions and Traumas in Health Law (Federation Press, 2017)

Willmott, Lindy et al, ‘(Failed) voluntary euthanasia law reform in Australia: Two decades of trends, models and politics’ (2016) 39(1) University of New South Wales Law Journal 1

Willmott, Lindy et al, ‘Restricting conversations about voluntary assisted dying: Implications for clinical practice’ (2019) BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care (in press)

Regional Euthanasia Review Committees, Annual Report 2017 (March 2018) 10

Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, Report on Operations 2018-2019 (Report, August 2019)

B Cases

Brightwater Care Group (Inc) v Rossiter (2009) 40 WAR 84; H Ltd v J (2010) 107 SASR 352.

C Legislation

Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 (Cth)

Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld)

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Qld)

Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009 (Vic).

Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Qld)

Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT)

Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic)

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 (WA)

D Other

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care (Report, 2015)

Daniel Andrews, ‘Victoria State Government ‘Voluntary assisted dying model established ahead of vote in Parliament’ (Media release, 25 July 2017)

White, Ben et al, ‘WA’s take on assisted dying has many similarities with the Victorian law – and some important differences’, The Conversation (online, 9 August 2019)