Australian moves on ‘assisted dying’

South Australia. SA’s Upper House voted for the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide this week. The bill will be debated in the Lower House in the coming weeks. If it succeeds, South Australia will become the fourth Australian state where “voluntary assisted dying” will be legal, after Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The Health Minister, Stephen Wade, is backing the bill. Mr Wade said there was significant value in having national consistency of voluntary assisted dying legislation in Australia. "Consistency would support access, it would support quality and safe practice and it would reduce the pressure for what is sometimes called medical tourism," he said.

Victoria. Euthanasia became legal in the state of Victoria only about two years ago, but its supporters are already seeking a major amendment to broaden access. A Federal law currently prevents doctors from discussing euthanasia with their patients online or on a phone. It was originally passed to discourage the most vicious kind of cyberbullying. However, Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley wants to treat “voluntary assisted dying” advice as a kind of telehealth.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge    

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