Until recently, terminally ill people across Australia were not able to access a legal and humane assisted dying option to end their suffering. Australia’s first attempt to legalise assisted during – through legislation in the Northern Territory – had been overruled by the federal parliament, through new limits on the power of territories to make laws.
In 2017, Victoria became the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying. It was soon followed by Western Australia (2019), Tasmania (2021), South Australia (2021) and Queensland (2021).
What’s the problem?
While most of the country now provides for VAD, millions of Australians live in jurisdictions that do not.
In recent years, the grassroots campaign in New South Wales for VAD has been gathering momentum. A bill passed the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, in late 2021. But it is still required to pass the upper house, the Legislative Council.
Citizens of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory face possibly a longer wait, with federal laws needing to be changed before their respective assemblies are able to pursue this reform.
What the RSA is doing
We have been actively lobbying members of state parliaments to support the legalisation of assisted dying laws.
We have written to and met with legislators, supported the efforts of local community groups, and made submissions to parliamentary inquiries examining proposed bills to legalise assisted dying.
What you can do
If you live in New South Wales, we encourage you to contact members of the state’s upper house, the Legislative Council, to tell them why you support legalising assisted dying and why they should, too.
Debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 is expected to begin in the first part of 2022. So please make your voice heard.
If you live in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory, we urge you to contact your federal members of parliament – your local MP in the House of Representatives and your territory senators in the Senate.