February 29, 2024

First death under Western Australia’s new assisted dying law

An historic moment, says Premier Mark McGowan

Australian readers will be interested to learn that a person has died under Western Australia’s new voluntary assisted dying law – the first in the state. The name was not released.

Premier Mark McGowan was delighted. He tweeted that that it was an “historic moment”.

“We passed these laws so terminally ill Western Australians, who are suffering, could have the compassionate choice to end their lives with dignity,” he said. “Understandably, this person and their family have chosen to do this privately. We must all respect that choice, just as we respect the individual’s choice to use these laws to end their suffering. I can only imagine what an emotional time it must have been for the person involved and their loved ones.”  

The law was passed by state parliament in December 2019, making WA the second Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying. Eighteen months of implementation followed.

“Death is a difficult issue, and we don’t like thinking about what the end of our lives may look like,” Mr McGowan said. “I am sure many will find comfort in the fact these laws mean neither they nor their loved ones will be forced to suffer needlessly at the end of their lives.

The Premier expects that about 60 people will end their lives in the first year of the scheme.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge   

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