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Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude
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State of Victoria

Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017

No. 61 of 2017

What follows are the parts of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 that pertain to legal protection of freedom of conscience. See commentary at New euthanasia/assisted suicide law in Australia.

3.    Definitions

registered health practitioner means a person registered under the Health Practitioner  Regulation National Law to practise a health profession (other than as a student);

voluntary assisted dying means the administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance and includes steps reasonably related to such administration;

5.    Principles

(1) A person exercising a power or performing a function or duty under this Act must have regard to the following principles -

(f) individuals should be encouraged to openly discuss death and dying and an individual's preferences and values should be encouraged and promoted;

(g) individuals should be supported in conversations with the individual's health practitioners, family and carers and community about treatment and care preferences;

(j) all persons, including health practitioners, have the right to be shown respect for their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.

7.    Conscientious objection of registered health practitioners

A registered health practitioner who has a conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying has the right to refuse to do any of the following-

(a) to provide information about voluntary assisted dying;

(b) to participate in the request and assessment process;

(c) to apply for a voluntary assisted dying permit;

(d) to supply, prescribe or administer a voluntary assisted dying substance;

(e) to be present at the time of administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance;

(f) to dispense a prescription for a voluntary assisted dying substance.

8.    Voluntary assisted dying must not be initiated by registered health practitioner

(1) A registered health practitioner who provides health services or professional care services to a person must not, in the course of providing those services to the person -

(a) initiate discussion with that person that is in substance about voluntary assisted dying; or

(b) in substance, suggest voluntary assisted dying to that person.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) prevents a registered health practitioner providing information about voluntary assisted dying to a person at that person's request.

(3) A contravention of subsection (1) is to be regarded as unprofessional conduct within the meaning and for the purposes of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

11.    Person may make first request to registered medical practitioner

(1) A person may make a request to a registered medical practitioner for access to voluntary assisted dying.

(2) A request for access to voluntary assisted dying must be -

(a) clear and unambiguous; and

(b) made by the person personally.

(3) The person may make the request verbally or by gestures or other means of communication available to the person.

13.    Registered medical practitioner must accept or refuse first request

(1) Within 7 days after receiving a first request from a person, the registered medical practitioner to whom the request was made must inform the person that the practitioner -

(a) accepts the first request; or

(b) refuses the first request because the practitioner -

(i) has a conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying; or

(ii) believes that the practitioner will not be able to perform the duties of co-ordinating medical practitioner due to unavailability; or

(iii) is required under subsection (2) to 5 refuse the first request.

14.    Registered medical practitioner who accepts first request must record first request and acceptance

If the registered medical practitioner accepts the person's first request, the practitioner must-

(a) record the practitioner's decision to accept the first request in the person's medical record; and

(b) record the first request in the person's medical record.

23.    Registered medical practitioner must accept or refuse referral for a consulting assessment

(1) Within 7 days after a registered medical practitioner receives a referral for a consulting assessment of a person from the co-ordinating medical practitioner for the person under section 22, 31, 33(3)(a) or 73(4), the registered medical practitioner must inform the person and the co-ordinating medical practitioner that the practitioner -

(a) accepts the referral; or

(b) refuses the referral because the practitioner -

(i) has a conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying; or

(ii) believes that the practitioner will not be able to perform the duties of consulting medical practitioner due to unavailability; or

(iii) is required under subsection (2), (3) or (4) to refuse the referral.