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The ACT should go beyond the states in widening access to euthanasia, says Marshall Perron (Bigstock)

The architect of the world’s first right-to-die law, former Northern Territory chief minister Marshall Perron, is urging the ACT to allow under-18s and non-terminal ­patients access to voluntary assisted dying when it legislates the measure. Source: The Australian.

A discussion paper released in February by the Australian Capital Territory government explores a possibility “mature minors” would be allowed to legally end their lives provided they met the core eligibility requirements for VAD of being near death from an incurable illness or medical condition, while enduring intolerable and non-relievable suffering.

The minimum age is 18 in the five states where assisted dying is now in force, with NSW due to bring its program into operation on November 28.

The ACT, set to legislate by the end of the year, has sought public input into whether under-18s “with the maturity and capacity” to weigh VAD should be covered.

In a submission in March to the ACT’s Labor government, Mr Perron called for the legislating of a “safe regime” to permit VAD for incurable but not terminal conditions and to provide an advance directive process in the event of lost competence, such as with late-stage dementia.

Mr Perron said the “mature minor” concept should be developed to allow 16 and 17-year-olds access, but with additional safeguards. These might include parental consent and mental health checks.

The euthanasia law Mr Perron brought in as NT chief minister in 1995 had barely come into effect when then prime minister John Howard vetoed it. Federal parliament overturned the ban in December.


Euthanasia law architect Marshall Perron demands right to die for teens, non-terminally ill (By Jamie Walker, The Australian)