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The Australian Christian Lobby is instead urging the Government to retain this ban on telehealth appointments for voluntary euthanasia (Bigstock)

State leaders are calling for the Albanese Government to amend Commonwealth laws and allow telehealth consultations for patients seeking access to euthanasia services. Source: ABC News.

All states (but not territories) have their own laws allowing for voluntary assisted dying, while the federal Government through Medicare funds telehealth appointments with doctors.

On Thursday, the Federal Court made a significant ruling in a case brought by Victorian doctor Nicholas Carr, who sought clarity about whether the term suicide in the federal criminal code included voluntary assisted dying.

Justice Wendy Abraham found that it did and that if a doctor were to give information to a patient about voluntary assisted dying under Victorian law it would amount to providing “instruction on a particular method of committing suicide”.

She ruled “if that communication is undertaken using a carriage service, that would breach the Commonwealth Offence Provisions but be authorised under the VAD Act (Victorian voluntary assisted dying laws).”

The Australian Medical Association renewed its calls for the federal Government to amend the Commonwealth Crimes Act to allow for these telehealth services.

But the Australian Christian Lobby is instead urging the Government to retain this ban on telehealth appointments for voluntary euthanasia, describing the issue as an “acid test for the Labor Government”.

Some state leaders have also called for the federal Government to change its criminal laws, echoing concerns about regional Australians.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the issue particularly affected her state due to its decentralised nature, while Victoria’s Minister for Ageing, Ingrid Stitt, also raised concerns about the impact the Federal Court ruling would have on regional communities.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday made it clear that he didn’t support telehealth appointments being used by patients to access voluntary assisted dying counselling.

“My personal opinion is that these issues are serious and that telehealth should not be used because I’d be concerned about some of the implications there,” he said.


Calls to ensure voluntary assisted dying access for rural and regional Australians after Federal Court ruling (By Elise Kinsella, ABC News)