Terminally ill Queenslanders are now able to ask for medically-assisted death after the state’s voluntary-assisted dying scheme came into effect at midnight.
From today, people suffering a disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and terminal and with less than one year to live can ask for medically-assisted death. The decision to grant a request will be made by a panel of medical experts and must be approved by the patient’s treating doctor. The new laws include safeguards to protect vulnerable people.
Queensland is the fifth jurisdiction to legalise euthanasia after Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. The Queensland state parliament voted to legalise voluntary-assisted dying in September 2021 after Labor took to the policy to the 2020 Queensland election.
NSW passed voluntary-assisted dying laws in May after a marathon debate, but they will not come into effect until the 28th of November 2023.
The NSW laws are also different other states, limiting access to voluntary-assisted dying to people with terminal illnesses who will die within six months, or 12 months in the case of a person with a neurodegenerative condition experiencing unbearable suffering. A NSW application must be assessed by two medical practitioners.