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The Exit Internationalist

November 28, 2017

Victoria Passes Right to Die Law … Finally

After marathon debates in both Houses of Parliament, the Victorian Parliament has revived euthanasia in Australia by passing the first right to die law since the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 21 years ago.

In 1996, Exit Founder & Director Dr Philip Nitschke administered the world’s first legal, lethal voluntary injection to terminally ill man, Bob Dent.

The NT law lasted just 9 months before a conscience vote in the Australian Federal Parliament – sponsored by deeply conservative/ catholic Melbourne MP Kevin Andrews – overturned the law.

Section 122 of the Australian Constitution allows the Australian Parliament to make laws for the Territories. In the case of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, the Euthanasia Laws Act was able to state euthanasia as an issue on which the Northern Territory could not make a law.

In 2017 in Victoria, S122 does not, and never will, apply because Victoria is a State, not a Territory.

Titled the ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying’ Act, the new Victorian allows enlists doctors to allow a terminally ill person to die. The law will be enacted in mid 2019.

To qualify the person must:

  • Live in Victoria for at least 12 months
  • Be 18 years or over
  • Of sound mind?
  • Have a terminal illness
  • Have <6 months to live (except if the neurological like MND, in which case its 12 months)
  • Be approved by 2 doctors
  • Have no other treatment options acceptable (‘tolerable’) to them

There will be 68+ safeguards to ensure the ‘vulnerable’ are protected. These include:

  • 3-step request /approval process involving 2 independent doctors
  • 10 day cooling off period
  • The person needs to be able to take the drugs themselves unless they can’t in which case a lethal injection is possible.

Plus 65 more…

Speaking from his home in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Dr Philip Nitschke has said he was ‘pleased and relieved’ that Australia had finally come to its senses on such an important human rights issue, however the country was now in catch up mode.

‘Since Australia became the first place in the world to enact euthanasia laws, it had been stagnant while the rest of the world had moved on’.

He congratulated the Victorian Government on its conviction in taking the issue to the vote and admired their perseverance in breaking the 21 year ‘log-jam’ in legislation on this issue.

Exit will be holding a special Public Meeting & Workshop at the Phoenix Park Community Centre (22 Rob Roy Rd, Malvern East) at 1.30pm on Monday 26 February 2918.

The Workshop will be preceded by a free public meeting where the new law will be explained. Everyone welcome.

Registrations are now open by calling 1300 10 3948 or email