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An example of a locked box that contains a lethal substance for euthanasia patients (ABC News)

A review of Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying laws has ruled out expanding the scheme to people with dementia and letting doctors initiate conversations about euthanasia with the terminally ill. Source: The Age.

A mandated five-year review of the law is underway, but the Health Department says it will “not consider changes to the legislation”.

The review, which has been slammed by euthanasia advocates, will instead focus on how the existing voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation is operating.

Senior medicine and law academics wrote to Victorian Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas this week to express their concerns about the limited scope of the review.

“It is our view that to limit the review of the VAD system in this manner – that is, to exclude or prevent a review of the legislation itself – is mistaken and fails to discharge either the requirements of the legislation or the expectations of the community,” wrote Monash University’s Paul Komesaroff and Sydney University professors Ian Kerridge and Cameron Stewart.

Professor Komesaroff said a clause – which was introduced as a safeguard to prevent coercion – that makes it illegal for doctors to start a conversation about voluntary assisted dying with terminally ill patients “obstructs conversations between professional carers and patients who are seeking information”.

Submissions to the review close later this month, with the findings to be tabled in Parliament later this year.

Dr Nick Carr, who is one of the state’s most active prescribers of voluntary assisted dying substances, said the review was a missed opportunity. He advocates expanding the scheme to people with dementia and relaxing the requirement for patients to have a prognosis of death within six months (and 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases).

A Victorian Government spokesman said while legislative changes were not within the scope of the review, all legislation was reviewed and updated periodically to ensure it was fit for purpose.

In 2017, Victoria became the first Australian state to introduce euthanasia legislation.


Euthanasia advocates slam state review for ruling out expansion (By Henrietta Cook, The Age)


Ban on doctors raising voluntary assisted dying with ill patients to remain as Victoria reviews law (The Guardian)

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