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Inquiry into the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2023

Published on February 7, 2024

AFI has made a submission to the Inquiry into the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2023 by the Select Committee on Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

Our submission focuses on the safeguards, supports, regulations and circumstances least likely to do harm to people with disabilities on the introduction of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) and that we would need to see in a Bill and the surrounding groundwork to its introduction.

Some key principles outlined in our submission are that having a disability alone should not be grounds for VAD, doctors involved in the VAD process must understand that people with disability can live good lives and no one should be offered VAD in place of disability, health and palliative care supports. We also speak to monitoring and safeguards.

Our submission sets out a number of preconditions for Voluntary Assisted Dying in the ACT which would need to be met either via the Bill itself or an adjacent government work program. Our submission sets out 10 key tests for VAD legislation:

  1. Eligibility (disability clearly not grounds for VAD)
  2. Support guarantee for those seeking VAD
  3. Creating an offence around offering VAD in place of disability or other supports
  4. Mandatory social model and diagnostic overshadowing training for medical professionals
  5. Suicide prevention work amongst people with disability
  6. Advocacy support to deal with trauma, harm and hate speech
  7. A VAD review board
  8. A fully funded ACT Disability Health Strategy and access to preventative health
  9. Fund an ACT Disability Strategy  
  10. Properly fund Disability supports