Assisted Dying in Australia and Limiting Court Involvement in Withdrawal of Nutrition and Hydration
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Assisted Dying in Australia
In 1995 the Northern Territory passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) and in 1996 when it came into force, it was a world first and placed Australia at the forefront of legalized assisted dying. The Act was, however, rendered ineffectual by the Commonwealth in 1997 and since that time, euthanasia (assisted dying) has not been addressed by legislation in Australia. This recently changed in the State of Victoria with the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 on the 29th of November 2017. Given the complexities of some of the procedural requirements of the Act, it will not come into effect until June 2019.
Under the Act, voluntary assisted dying means the administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance (defined as a substance specified in a permit for the purpose of causing death) and all steps reasonably related to such administration (s3). At this point in time there has been no specific substance identified and this will be...