Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia

Laws regarding euthanasia in Australia are matters for State governments, and in the case of the Territories, the Federal government.

Euthanasia legislation status in Australian States and Territories (as of 2021):

RED   Voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide illegal

BLUE   Voluntary euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide legal

The first jurisdiction in Australia to bring in legally assisted dying was the Northern Territory in 1996. However, within a few months, in 1997, this legislation was overthrown by a private member’s bill introduced by Federal back bencher Kevin Andrews in the Liberal government. In addition, a clause in Andrews’s bill removed the right of Territories ever to legalise assisted dying. This provision still applies in both the NT and the Australian Capital Territory.

The State of Victoria was the next to pass voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation, which came into effect in June 2019.

In Western Australia and South Australia VAD became law on 1 July 2021.

Tasmania passed VAD legislation in March 2021. It will come into effect in October 2022.

Queensland’s parliament passed VAD legislation in-September 2021, and this will come into effect in January 2023.

In New South Wales a VAD bill will be presented to the Legislative Assembly in October 2021.