Voluntary Assisted Dying or VAD refers to the law allowing people with an advanced life-limiting illness to control when they die by taking a medicine prescribed by their doctor.
This is different from palliative care. Palliative care does not hasten death. It aims to improve quality of life for a person with a life-limiting illness. This can include control of pain and managing distress.
‘Voluntary’ indicates that VAD is a voluntary choice of the person. This means that the person must be able to decide to access VAD for themselves and this is what they want.
‘Terminally ill’ means that the person is expected to die soon.
VAD laws have passed in all states of Australia (but some laws have not yet started).
Australian VAD laws provide adults with an advanced life-limiting illness the right to legally choose when they will die. Where available, this is an individual’s choice when they know that they are likely to die soon.
The Australian public’s support for VAD has remained high with national surveys showing that since the early 1990’s at least seven out of ten people asked were in favour. 
Generally there are two ways that VAD may be provided:
VAD is legally available in the following Australian states:
Some states with VAD legislation provide information for consumers. If your state does not appear below, we will add it when it becomes available. It is important to understand that to be eligible for VAD in any state a person must be able to make their own decisions.
Palliative Care Australia - Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia: guiding principles for those providing care to people living with a life-limiting illness (pdf 82kb).
For more on legislation and requirements surrounding VAD in Australia visit End of Life Law in Australia.
Last updated 29 January 2024