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Queensland

Legal situation

In short

In September 2021, Queensland has become the fifth Australian state with a law that regulates voluntary assisted dying. The law will come into effect in January 2023.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021

The law allows adults who are diagnosed with a terminal illness that will end their life within 12 months, and who are suffering in a way that is intolerable to them, to seek medical assistance to hasten their death. Two independent doctors must assess the eligibility and mental competency of applicants and that they are acting free from coercion.

The Queensland law is similar to all other VAD laws in Australia, which are all modelled on the Victorian VAD Act passed in 2017. Queensland also includes provisions allowing institutional conscientious objection. While the institution can refuse to allow VAD on its premises, it must facilitate alternative arrangements if a patient or resident requests VAD.

Commonwealth Criminal Code Act

The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act makes it an offence to use a “carriage service” like phone, telehealth, email etc, to “counsel, promote or provide information on suicide” – with a potential fine of $22,000. 

Comment of DWD Queensland: “Other States have managed the problem by insisting on face-to-face consults at various stages in the process. This may work in smaller States like Victoria and NSW, but it is not suitable for large States like Queensland or Western Australia. Equity of access is vital. DWDQ will work with the Dying With Dignity groups in the other states, to launch a national campaign urging for an amendment to the Act. We want all terminally ill Queenslanders to have equal access to this much longed for VAD law. No one should be excluded because they don’t have access to medical or nursing consults. This would especially impact those living in remote areas, and particularly First Nations peoples. We can’t expect terminally ill people to make a long and stressful journey to see a city doctor. We want to start 2023 with a group of doctors trained and ready, right across the State.”

Two important reports

Th first report was published by the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) in May 2021.
The second report was published by the
Queensland Parliamentary Health Committee in August 2021.
You can read them below:

Right to Die Societies in Queensland

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