A prohibition on the Australian Capital Territory passing its own voluntary assisted dying law has now been lifted. The ACT's right to decide for itself on this issue was handed back when the Australian Parliament passed the Restoring Territory Rights Bill 2022.
The passage of the bill righted a historic wrong. The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to try to legalise assisted dying when it introduced the Voluntary and Natural Death Bill in 1993.
The bill failed to pass and shortly after, in 1995, the NT parliament passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act – the first operational voluntary euthanasia law in the world.
Only four people were able to use the law before the Commonwealth overturned it and imposed a ban on the ACT and NT ever discussing the issue again.
With that ban now lifted, the ACT government has issued a discussion paper and embarked on a consultation process on proposed legislation with the view of introducing a Bill to parliament in the second half of 2023.