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The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly Building (Wikimedia/Nick-D)

A Labor backbencher will hold off on moving amendments to the ACT’s voluntary assisted dying legislation being debated this week, that would allow people to access euthanasia after losing decision-making capacity. Source: Canberra Times. 

Marisa Paterson said last month she was considering amendments 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.

This would only be open to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Under the proposal, a person could elect someone to act as their voluntary assisted dying attorney and carry out their wishes.

But Dr Paterson said she would not move the amendments ahead of the bill being debated this week.

She sought community feedback on the amendments over a two-week period but ultimately decided there was not enough time to work through possible issues.

Dr Paterson’s decision should pave the way for euthanasia laws to pass the territory’s Parliament this week. 

Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne is set to move a range of technical amendments to the legislation but no other Labor or Greens member will move any amendments.

Labor and Liberal members have a conscience vote on the matter and are free to put up any amendments.

In other jurisdictions, this has resulted in lengthy debates and last-minute changes to the proposed voluntary assisted dying model but the territory appears set to avoid this.

Debate on the issue is expected to begin today and continue into Wednesday.


Voluntary assisted dying laws set to pass ACT Legislative Assembly this week (By Lucy Bladen, Canberra Times)