Parliament passes historic voluntary assisted dying laws for WA

  • Landmark voluntary assisted dying legislation has been passed into law by Parliament
  • The McGowan Government’s Bill passed the Upper House on December 5 and was further ratified by the Lower House today
  • WA is now only the second State in Australia to enact voluntary assisted dying laws
  • An important 18-month implementation period will commence and the legislation will be reviewed two years from commencement 
  • The McGowan Government has legalised voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia, with the laws officially passed by State Parliament today.

    These laws give Western Australians who are terminally ill the right to end their suffering at a time of their choosing while ensuring that the necessary protections and approvals for these decisions are in place.

    The final passage of the legislation followed a lengthy debate, with more than 180 hours in State Parliament spent debating the Bill – more than 76 in the Legislative Assembly and 105 in the Legislative Council.

    Both houses of Parliament considered the Bill in detail, including each of the 184 clauses, and have agreed to 55 amendments to the Bill.

    The Bill was the result of two years of clinical and legal scrutiny. The integrity of the Bill, in terms of the choice and access for patients, remains untouched and is a result of the soundness of the Bill drafted by the McGowan Government.

    Strict eligibility criteria and approval processes remain unchanged and the final amendments have not altered the intent or substance of the Bill.

    The laws will take effect following an 18-month implementation phase and formation of an implementation panel. The panel will oversee development of clinical guidance, medication protocols and training for participating health practitioners, as well as information for the community and health professionals.

    More information can be found at http://www.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “This is a remarkable moment for Western Australia and will go down in history as one of the biggest, most important and significant pieces of reform delivered.

    “We’ve never lost sight of who we’re doing this for. We owe it to those dying Western Australians suffering in pain who want a choice.

    “We are now even closer to relieving intolerable suffering to those who would be eligible for voluntary assisted dying.

    “Introducing these laws has been complex and challenging and my thanks and appreciation goes to my colleagues and all the hardworking staff for their dedication in delivering the passage of this delicate Bill through Parliament. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

    “To all the supporters of voluntary assisted dying and to all the people who have lost a loved one who wanted the choice – we thank you for your unwavering support, your contribution, your stories, your consultation and for entrusting us with this task. We did it for you.

    “I respect all those people who don’t support the laws and understand your views. It’s important to remember these laws are based on a voluntary choice.”

    As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:

    “This is a watershed moment in our State’s history – I commend my parliamentary colleagues for having the courage to pass these laws which will enable choice for people who are suffering at the end of their life.

    “The carriage of this Bill through both houses of Parliament pays testament to the overwhelming support for voluntary assisted dying that exists in the community.

    “This Bill has resulted in fully informed, compassionate and workable legislation which recognises the importance of giving people at the end of their life genuine choice.

    “All Western Australians are entitled to access to high-quality end of life care and we will continue to actively engage with health professionals and the wider community to make sure that these laws are implemented effectively and safely.”

    /Public Release. View in full here.