The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) will come into force in June 2019, becoming the first law in Australia in 20 years to permit voluntary assisted dying (VAD). This paper considers how other Australian states and territories are likely to respond to this development. It analyses three key factors that suggest that law reform is likely to occur in other parts of Australia: (1) the growing international trend to permit VAD; (2) social science evidence about how VAD regimes operate; and (3) changes to the local political environment. The paper argues that these three factors, coupled with the effect of Victoria changing its law, suggest that other VAD law reform is likely to occur in Australia. It also considers the different types of laws that may be adopted, including whether other states and territories will follow the very conservative Victorian approach or adopt more liberal models.
What is known about the topic? Despite sustained law reform efforts in parliaments across the country, Victoria is the first Australian jurisdiction to pass a law permitting VAD in 20 years.
What does this paper add? This paper addresses likely future trends in VAD law reform in Australia. Drawing on international developments, a growing body of social science evidence about how VAD regimes work in practice, and evidence about a changing local political environment, the paper argues that other states and territories in Australia will also enact laws about VAD.
What are the implications for practitioners? The legalisation of VAD has significant implications for health professionals, health administrators and health systems. Understanding how reform may occur and what legal models may be considered supports participation in the law reform process and preparation for likely change.