The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 has cleared its final hurdle in the Legislative Assembly, with members accepting all amendments made in the Upper House. This makes Western Australia the second State in the nation to pass a contemporary, compassionate and safe voluntary assisted dying law.
The 55 amendments that were made in the Upper House codify good medical practice or make explicit something that was previously implicit in the Bill. Proposed amendments that would have made the regime unworkable, or that severely restricted access by dying Western Australians, were defeated. There will now be an 18-month implementation period before the WA law comes into effect.
Differences between this new WA law and the older Victorian law
One of the important differences between Western Australia’s law and Victoria’s (which was passed two years ago) is that doctors and nurses can raise the option of voluntary assisted dying with patients during a medical consultation. This ensures people with terminal illnesses are aware of all their options, including treatments, palliative care and assisted dying.