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In Australia, they use the term Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) to describe the law which allows the provision of medical assistance to a terminally ill person for self administration of a drug which will cause their death. If the person is no longer able to self administer, a doctor can administer the drug. 

States and territories

Australia is divided into six states and two territories and, similar to the USA, each state and territory must pass their own law.

Of Australia’s six states, all of them now have a VAD law: Victoria (2017), Western Australia (2019), Tasmania (2021), South Australia (2021), Queensland (2021) and New South Wales (2022).

Voluntary Assisted Dying commenced in Victoria on June 19, 2019; in Western Australia (WA) on July 1, 2021; Tasmania on October 23, 2022; Queensland on January 1, 2023; and South Australia (SA) on January 31, 2023. VAD is due to commence in New South Wales (NSW) on November 28, 2023.

The two territories of Australia are the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory (NT). The NT was the first jurisdiction on earth where euthanasia was legalized. However, this was for a short time (1997-1998). Then, the Australian federal government overturned this law: only 9 months after the act came into effect, it was repealed by the federal parliament. From that moment on, the parliaments of both territories were deprived of their authority to debate and pass voluntary assisted dying laws.

In August 2022 the 25 year ban on the Territories debating voluntary assisted dying was overturned. The ACT is currently inquiring into the wording of a proposed VAD Bill, while the NT government has deferred consideration of VAD until after the next election (August 2024).  

Useful links

Australia Placeholder

Voluntary Assisted Dying legally allowed

Voluntary Assisted Dying not legally allowed

Legal Developments