Congratulations Tassie! Historic win for VAD
In a landmark step, Tasmania has become the third Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying for the terminally ill.
The Upper House voted in favour of amendments made to the End of Life Choice (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act 2020 in the Lower House. The bill is now on its way to receiving Royal Assent and will come into effect within 18 months.
Credit for Tasmania’s monumental achievement goes to the Hon Mike Gaffney MLC and his team including Bonnie Phillips and Phillip Spratt, who worked tirelessly on the legislation.
Jacqui and Nat paid tribute on social media to their mother Diane, who died an excruciating death from gastric cancer in 2019:
"Where there is a will, there is a way," the sisters said. "This result is the legacy of all of our loved ones, that died without this compassionate end of life choice. But, the pain and trauma experienced by each of them, has not been in vain.
"Our loved ones have helped pave the way to allow us this profound freedom of choice — the absolute reassurance that we will never have to suffer intolerably, following a terminal diagnosis.”
Our sincere thanks also go to Tasmania’s Labor, Greens and Independent MPs for getting behind the bill, and to Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein and key government members for making time for the debate and backing a law that so many Tasmanians support.
Go Gentle Australia's CEO Kiki Paul said, "Go Gentle Australia is delighted to have worked closely with Mike Gaffney and his team to contribute resources, advice and lessons learnt from past successful reforms in Victoria and Western Australia. Tasmanian parliamentarians have set a high bar with this respectful, evidence-based debate.
"We are now looking to parliamentarians in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, all of whom will consider voluntary assisted dying legislation this year, to make sure their constituents can access the same compassionate choice at the end of life."
It’s worth noting this is the first time a non-government bill on voluntary assisted dying has succeeded in an Australian state parliament. Tasmania’s legislation originated as a Private Member’s Bill drafted and shepherded by Mike Gaffney and sets a precedent in Australia. Gaffney, pictured below with Dr Cameron McClaren, said:
The Tasmanian law’s eligibility criteria echoes Victorian and Western Australian legislation. Australian applicants must be terminally ill, mentally competent adults in the final six months of life (or 12 months for neurodegenerative disorders, such as MND). They must also have been resident in Tasmania for the 12 months preceding their application.
A specialist Commission will be established to oversee the voluntary assisted dying process and will report to the Minister of Health.