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ACT Legislative Assembly members are debating voluntary euthanasia laws. (Wikimedia/Nick-D)

People who lose decision-making capacity after being approved for voluntary assisted dying may still be able to access assisted death in the ACT, with a Labor backbencher to consult on possible amendments to the laws. Source: Canberra Times.

An emotionally-charged debate on the ACT’s voluntary assisted dying bill began yesterday afternoon, with five members revealing they would vote against it.

Many members shared personal reflections about the deaths of parents and relatives as they spoke about their positions and some flagged their willingness to consider further changes in the detail debate stage.

It was also revealed the ACT’s voluntary assisted dying scheme will come into effect on November 3, 2025.

Labor’s Marisa Paterson said she was considering amendments to the bill to address a gap in cases where a person has gone through all the approval stages for voluntary assisted dying but lost capacity before ending their life.

Under the proposal, this person could elect a person to act as their voluntary assisted dying attorney and carry out their wishes.

Dr Paterson will consult on her amendments until May 29. The bill is expected to be debated and pass during the June 4 sitting week.

Greens are on a unity ticket in support of voluntary assisted dying. Labor and Liberal members have a conscience vote on the matter, however, all Labor members have previously confirmed they will vote in favour of voluntary assisted dying.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee expressed her in-principle support for the bill.

But Ms Lee did say she had concerns about a future review, included in the legislation, which could examine whether the scheme should open up to people under-18 with decision-making capacity.

The ACT was blocked from legislating on voluntary assisted dying for 25 years. The Federal Parliament implemented this ban on the territories after the Northern Territory introduced legislation in 1995.

This ban was overturned in late-2022.


Who is voting against voluntary assisted dying in the ACT (By Lucy Bladen, Canberra Times)