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Should people with dementia be eligible for voluntary assisted dying?

There is ongoing public discussion about whether dementia should be a qualifying illness under Australian voluntary assisted dying laws.

Published: 26 May 2024
  • national
  • 26 May 2024
  • The Conversation

Dementia is the second leading cause of death for Australians aged over 65. More than 421,000 Australians currently live with dementia and this figure is expected to almost double in the next 30 years.

Voluntary assisted dying is now lawful in all six states, but is not available for a person living with dementia.

The Australian Capital Territory has begun debating its voluntary assisted dying bill in parliament but the government has ruled out access for dementia. Its view is that a person should retain decision-making capacity throughout the process. But the bill includes a requirement to revisit the issue in three years.