New report on Australian experience shows NZ’s EOLC Act will work safely, effectively

A new report by the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board on Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017, is evidence New Zealand’s very similar End of Life Choice Act will work safely and effectively.


The report found:

– the average age of applicants to use the state’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 is 71 – echoing statistics from comparable assisted dying laws elsewhere, such as Oregon, where the median age of terminally ill people choosing assisted dying is 72


– applicants sought assisted dying for reasons of personal choice, having control and maintaining dignity in their death


– compliance with the law is 99 per cent; one non-compliant application due to a paperwork issue and not related to eligibility of the applicant


– half of all eligible applicants progressed between their first and last request within 19 days – matching estimates from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, which has advised our paperwork and approval process would take a minimum of 15 days


– of the 45,000 recorded deaths in Victoria in the past 12 months, 124 were from terminally ill Victorians who chose a voluntary assisted death


Yes for Compassion’s Jessica Young says the Victorian report shows their law is working safely, effectively and as intended.


“It is evidence New Zealand’s End of Life Choice Act will work in the same way,” she says.

“We know people with serious, incurable illness do not want to die; they want to live for as long as possible. They tend to take all the treatment they can, where it exists.


“However, during the late stages of incurable illness some people find palliative care is not enough to relieve their suffering. At that stage, they are already dying and want a choice over how and when that happens.”


Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 came into force in June 2019. It is very similar to the End of Life Choice Act New Zealands will vote on in the referendum on 17 October.


Both Acts allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults to end their lives in a timing and manner of their choosing should their suffering become unbearable.





Yes for Compassion aims to ensure New Zealanders can cast an informed ‘yes’ vote in the 2020 End of Life Choice referendum. They have legal and medical experts available for comment, as well as Kiwis with personal stories:


Media contact: Jo de Joux – 021 245 6924