On the 19th May 2022, the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2022 was passed by both Houses in the NSW Parliament. The Lower House voted the Bill into law after the Upper House also approved the Bill with just a handful of amendments. The law will come into effect in 18 months’ time when new systems and an oversight body, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board, are put into place.
Put simply, Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) allows a dying person who is suffering in the final stages of life to ask their doctor for medication to help them die. The person must be an adult, have decision making capacity and be assessed as eligible by two independent doctors. Applications for VAD are overseen by the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board.
Commenting on the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2022, Kiki Paul, the CEO of Go Gentle Australia, said “This is a culmination of a 50-year-long fight and a moment for celebration. It is a welcome recognition at the highest level that dying people in this state can be trusted to make the right decisions about their own care and treatment. “For dying people who are waiting to use this law, the knowledge that they will soon have an option to end unrelievable suffering will provide immense comfort and reassurance.” Ms Paul said it was also a moment to remember the many individuals for whom this law did not come soon enough.
“We must not forget that for many in the NSW community this is a bittersweet moment.
“Our deepest gratitude goes to the thousands of people from every corner of the state who bravely shared their stories and experiences. Their accounts of the needless suffering happening every day in the absence of this reform could not be denied. Crucially, their MPs listened.
“To Alex Greenwich, the Independent Member for Sydney, and his team, who drafted and championed this Bill and whose expertise ensured the legislation passed both Houses intact – our deepest gratitude. Thank you, too, to all 28 cross-party politicians who came together to co-sponsor this Bill – a record number for any legislation anywhere in the country. This is politics at its best.
“Finally, we pay tribute to the countless organisations and their members who campaigned tirelessly, in particular Dying with Dignity NSW, Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice, Christians for VAD Choice, the NSW nurses and health services unions, seniors’ groups and all other members of the NSW VAD Alliance.”
You can access the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2022 HERE.
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