When ill is not ill enough—timeframe until expected death restrictions in Australian Voluntary Assisted Dying laws and human rights compatibility

Article


Braun, Kerstin. 2022. "When ill is not ill enough—timeframe until expected death restrictions in Australian Voluntary Assisted Dying laws and human rights compatibility." Australian Journal of Human Rights. 28 (1), pp. 21-39. https://doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2022.2109821
Article Title

When ill is not ill enough—timeframe until expected death restrictions in Australian Voluntary Assisted Dying laws and human rights compatibility

ERA Journal ID33110
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorBraun, Kerstin
Journal TitleAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Journal Citation28 (1), pp. 21-39
Number of Pages19
Year2022
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1323-238X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2022.2109821
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1323238X.2022.2109821
Abstract

In the past, aiding another person in ending their life or taking the life of another, even upon their request and with their consent, gave rise to criminal liability in all Australian jurisdictions. Consequently, neither doctors nor relatives could lawfully assist someone in dying. Since 2017, five Australian jurisdictions have introduced Voluntary Assisted Dying (‘VAD’) Acts allowing eligible individuals to end their lives with assistance. A person seeking access to VAD in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland must meet specific eligibility requirements including be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition which is advanced, progressive and is expected to cause death within a specific timeframe ranging from six to 12 months depending on the jurisdiction. Using Queensland as an exemplar, this article analyses whether the VAD timeframe until death restriction limits individual human rights in Australian jurisdictions with human rights legislation and contemplates whether potential limitations are reasonable and justified. The article concludes that due to its severe impact on individuals wishing to end their life with assistance, the restriction is raising severe concerns about its human rights compatibility.

KeywordsVoluntary Assisted Dying; eligibility restrictions; the right to life; the right to liberty and security; timeframe until expected death
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480412. Medical and health law
480401. Criminal law
480703. Domestic human rights law
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Law and Justice
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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