Understanding Voluntary Assisted Dying Laws In Australia

Voluntary assisted dying is now legal in all Australian states, after New South Wales passed laws earlier this week.

There are some differences however between states; NSW has a different cooling off period and allows the patient to choose whether the life-ending drug should be delivered by a medical professional even if they could self-administer.

Listen to today’s episode of The Briefing here:

Voluntary assisted dying isn’t available for anyone, and the strict laws will only allow people with a terminal illness expected kill them in six months, or 12 months for a neurogenerative illness to consider the option.

In this episode of The Briefing Tom Tilley speaks with David Springer who had to take his brother to Switzerland to die about what he thinks of the new laws.

Tom is also joined by Linda Swan from Go Gentle – a charity working to promote choice at the end of life, including the option of voluntary assisted dying.

For David’s brother Mark’s case, he still wouldn’t have been eligible for voluntary assisted dying in Australia with the restrictions in place.

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“Mark wouldn’t have been eligible. Multiple Sclerosis is not a fatal disease,” David said.

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“People with a MS will live ten to fifteen years less than you and me basically, so it’s a life of pain. 

“These new laws are fantastic and a really good start. But so much more needs to be done.”

Linda acknowledged the process has been long for those suffering with illness who want to consider voluntary assisted dying, but said the laws are working well in other states.

“We really need to demonstrate that the existing laws that are in place are working and working well and for places like Victoria,” she said.

“I think the evidence is already there. They’ve been going for nearly five years but for New South Wales, for the territories, it’s still new, so we still got some time to gather the evidence that the laws work and work well.”

To hear the full chat with both David Springer and Linda Swan, listen to the episode of The Briefing.

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