Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 Review – Stage 1

Closed 8 Dec 2023

Opened 10 Nov 2023


In 2017, the Western Australian Parliament established the Joint Select Committee on End-of-Life Choices to inquire into the need for laws in WA to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end-of-life choices.  The Committee conducted extensive consultation throughout its inquiry and tabled its My Life, My Choice report in both Houses of Parliament on 23 August 2018, recommending that the WA Government appoint an expert panel to undertake consultation to inform the drafting of voluntary assisted dying legislation.

In 2019, the Ministerial Expert Panel was established, chaired by Malcolm McCusker AC KC, and undertook comprehensive consultation to inform its recommendations about how the WA Government could develop safe, compassionate and workable legislation.

In August 2019, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 was introduced into the Western Australian Parliament. Following 175 hours of debate, the Parliament passed the Bill on 10 December 2019, and it received Royal Assent on 19 December 2019. After an 18-month implementation period, the law came into effect on 1 July 2021.

Section 164 of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 (WA) (the Act), requires the Minister for Health to review its operation and effectiveness. This is the first time that the Act is being reviewed and the review process is being led by a three-member review panel (the Panel):

  • Dr Elissa Campbell – Consultant geriatrician with the North Metropolitan Health Service and palliative care specialist. Dr Campbell was a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying and a member of the Implementation Leadership Team, which guided the implementation of the Act
  • Dr Sally Talbot MLC – Member for South West Region. Dr Talbot was also a member of the Joint Select Committee on End-of-Life Choices and a member of the Implementation Leadership Team, which guided the implementation of the Act 
  • Dr Simon Towler – Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health. Dr Towler was a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying and involved in the implementation of the Act in his previous role as End of Life Care Clinical Lead within the Department.

The terms of reference for the Review of the Act (the Review) are:

In carrying out the inaugural review of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 (WA), the Panel should consider:

  • the effectiveness and the operation of the Act, as passed by the Parliament in 2019, in providing for and regulating access to voluntary assisted dying; and
  • the extent to which current processes provided under the Act are operating to support persons eligible for voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia.

The Review is not seeking feedback on whether voluntary assisted dying should be precluded or whether there should be changes to eligibility criteria for patients or practitioners involved in the voluntary assisted dying process. 

Why your views matter

The Panel members are experienced in issues affecting end-of-life care and are keen to receive your responses to the questions in this survey.

This survey will take 10 to 60 minutes to complete depending on the level of detail you choose to include.

The Review will be done in stages with the first stage involving this online survey. This survey is an opportunity to identify priority issues to be further explored in the interviews, co-interviews, and focus groups during the second stage.

As part of the Review process, your confidential responses to the survey questions may be used by the Panel, the Department of Health and the researchers involved in the second stage. During reporting on survey outcomes, de-identified quotes may be drawn from the survey responses.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Health's End of Life Care Program which is supporting the Panel. More information about VAD is available from the Department of Health website https://www.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying and the HealthyWA website https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/End-of-life-care


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