The ACT Government has introduced the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2023.
Voluntary assisted dying (VAD) allows eligible people with terminal illnesses to choose the time and manner of their death.
If passed, the ACT will have some of the most progressive VAD laws in Australia.
Each state is responsible for their own VAD laws, and every state has now legalised it.
There was previously a ban on the ACT and the Northern Territory making laws about assisted dying, but this was lifted late last year.
ACT’s draft law
Under the draft laws, a person in the ACT can access VAD if they are 18 or older, have a condition that is “advanced, progressive and expected to cause death,” are suffering intolerably, are acting voluntarily, and have decision-making capacity.
It will require a multi-step request and assessment process.
Unlike other Australian jurisdictions, the ACT won’t require a time frame to death to be eligible.
It also would be the first time nurses would be allowed to “initiate a conversation about voluntary assisted dying” with a patient under certain circumstances.
This bill will be voted on via a conscience vote. This means parliamentarians can freely vote how they want to (so they are not bound to support a party position).
The ACT Government said the new scheme would be implemented 18 months after the legislation is passed.