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Man-of-the-hour Tasmanian MP Mike Gaffney was delighted that his voluntary assisted dying bill passed in the Legislative Council on 23 March 2021. “It’s been a wonderful journey” he said, “as smooth as I could have hoped for”.
His Independent member’s End-of-Life-Choices bill was unanimously passed in 2020 by Tasmania’s Legislative Council (Upper House). It then went to the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) for further examination. A number of amendments were made and the bill eventually made its way back to the Council for approval.
It is expected to come into force in 18 months’ time.
The Tasmanian Act is slightly more permissive than the New Zealand End of Life Choice Act 2019, in that it also gives assisted dying access to those suffering with a neuro-degenerative disease likely to end their life in 12 months or less. Both Acts allow access to assisted dying for those with other terminal diseases likely to end their life in 6 months or less.
This was Tasmania’s fourth attempt at passing assisted dying legislation. After Victoria and Western Australia, Tasmania will now become the third Australian state to adopt assisted dying laws.
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