Consultation – VAD amendments

Consultation – VAD amendments

ACT MLA Dr Marisa Paterson has invited community consultation on her proposed amendments to the Voluntary Assisted Dying bill currently before the Legislative Assembly.
She says “I am proposing amendments … seeking to address a critical gap in existing VAD legislation across Australia, where a person loses capacity following the final request and is no longer eligible to access VAD.”

There are two consultation sessions about this:

Thursday 23rd May- 6:30pm at Chifley Community Room, 70 Maclaurin Cres, Chifley

Tuesday 28th May- 1pm at Hughes Community Centre, 2 Wisdom St, Hughes

DWDACT members are strongly encouraged to attend a session if possible, and also to give email feedback to Dr Paterson and other MLAs, supporting the proposed amendments which would go some way towards dealing with the problem of losing mental or physical capacity. We only have a little over a week to do so.

Note that a list of ACT MLAs with email addresses is available here:

Dr Paterson’s website at has links to a media release and consultation draft. The media release says (in part):

Key Amendments:

  1. Empowering VAD Attorneys:
    • After the final assessment report, if an individual loses capacity, their VAD attorney (who holds enduring power of attorney) can authorize the individual’s access to VAD.
    • The VAD attorney’s awareness and consent to their role are essential prerequisites. A confirming doctor must ascertain the individual’s lack of decision-making capacity for the VAD attorney’s authority to be activated.

  2. ACAT Review Mechanism:
    • An ACAT review mechanism is established to provide advice and opinion on the authority of the VAD attorney in cases where capacity is lost.
  3. Consultation and Decision-Making:
    • Administrative decisions regarding VAD must be made in writing, with consultation and advice from the individual’s coordinating practitioner.
    • The administering practitioner must be satisfied with the authority of the VAD attorney and the individual’s lack of capacity before proceeding.
  4. Flexibility and Safeguards:
    • The VAD attorney retains the discretion to decline to proceed at any point, without compulsion.
    • Administering practitioners are empowered to question the authority of the VAD attorney or refer them to another health practitioner if any concerns arise.

These amendments represent a bold step forward and a solution to a problem that no other jurisdiction in Australia has yet tackled. I call on the ACT community to join in support, urging us to be brave and lead the nation in discussing the next steps toward supporting people suffering at the end of their lives to make the choice to die with dignity and compassion.

I invite you to share your thoughts, support, and feedback by signing the form at

Additionally, you can email your feedback directly to me at

Furthermore, I encourage you to email other Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly to express your support and provide feedback on the proposed amendments.

Please note that the consultation period will end on May 29th. Thank you for your participation and contribution.”

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