Date of Award

2022

Degree Name

Master of Laws (Thesis)

Schools and Centres

Law

First Supervisor

Iain T. Benson

Abstract

In 2017 the Victorian State Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017, making it the first Australian jurisdiction since 1996 to pass assisted dying legislation. The Victorian model was hailed by the Government of Victoria as the ‘safest and most conservative in the world’, and had the benefit of drawing on over 20 years of voluntary assisted dying experiences of other jurisdictions for its development. This thesis examines the experiences of other jurisdictions and how they informed the development of the Victorian model. It examines available data, reports, and criticisms of international experiences and applies them to the Victorian model to assess whether that model accounted for real and perceived issues in other jurisdictions. Through studying the discussions of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying’s Final Report against the experiences of other jurisdictions, this thesis examines whether the Victorian model has adequately accounted for the experiences of other nations. Ultimately, the Victorian model does answer to certain issues found, particularly in the Belgian and Dutch models (such as reporting, compliance, and administering of the VAD drug), but ultimately the Victorian legislation fails to answer for persistent issues found in other jurisdictions such as mental health as eligibility criteria, and having a lethal drug out in the public, as well as creating issues with respect to the balancing of safety and accessibility. Since the passing of the Victorian model, Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland have passed their own voluntary assisted dying legislation. As the Victorian legislation has encouraged other jurisdictions to follow its lead, it is important to assess if the model suitably answers to expressed concerns and that is the purpose of this thesis.

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