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Tara Cheyne, left, and Rachel Stephen-Smith (Tara Cheyne website and Facebook/Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA)

Officials have already been tasked with rewriting parts of the ACT’s proposed euthanasia laws, with the Government saying it intended to begin debating the bill in the first half of this year. Source: Canberra Times.

A parliamentary inquiry into the bill found the phrase in the bill that a person must be in the “last stages of life” and have an “advanced” condition was not clearly defined.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said officials were already working on amendments to make this clearer.

Unlike other jurisdictions, the ACT won’t require an expected time frame to death in eligibility criteria. Instead, the bill says a person must be in the “last stages of life”.

Several groups who gave evidence to the inquiry said the term could create uncertainty as different health professionals could have different views about what this means.

The Government has confirmed it will change this.

Voluntary assisted dying will be available to Canberrans 18 months after the bill passes the ACT Legislative Assembly, and Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne has previously indicated she would like the bill to pass in the first half of 2024. This would mean voluntary assisted dying would be available to Canberrans by late-2025.

The Government has four months to respond to the committee’s report. 

But Ms Stephen-Smith did provide a clearer indication of the timeline, saying it would be debated “mid-year”.


Parts of ACT’s voluntary assisted dying bill to be rewritten (By Lucy Bladen, Canberra Times