Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board Appointed

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced the appointment of former Supreme Court judge, Betty King QC, as chair of the new Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board.

Ms King is one of Australia’s most pre-eminent judicial officers, serving as a Supreme Court judge in Victoria for ten years before retiring in August 2015 – exactly 40 years to the day when she first signed the bar roll.

Ms Hennessy has also appointed leading ICU specialist Charles Corke as Deputy Chair.

Last year, Victoria passed historic voluntary assisted dying laws that will give Victorians with a terminal illness a genuine choice at the end of their lives.

The Board will spend the next 12 months developing the highest standards of oversight and reporting, including how cases will be reviewed. It will also outline appropriate procedures for mandatory reporting by health practitioners and work with the experts to develop guidelines, protocols and training for clinicians.

The new board also comprises:

  • Margaret Bird, geriatrician and Clinical Director of Eastern Health Supportive and Palliative Care
  • Molly Carlile, registered nurse and Palliative Care South East Ltd chief executive
  • Mitchell Chipman, oncologist and palliative care physician, Victorian Breast and Oncology Care
  • John Clements, carer and Safer Care Victoria Palliative Care Clinical Network Insight Committee Member
  • Sally Cockburn, GP and broadcaster
  • James Howe, neurologist at the Calvary Health Care Statewide Progressive Neurological Disease Service
  • Danielle Ko, lawyer, GP and palliative care consultant
  • Margaret O’Connor, Emeritus Professor of Nursing at Monash University and Clinical Research Consultant at Melbourne City Mission Palliative Care
  • Nirasha Parsotam, pharmacist and Bupa Head of Health Systems Strategy and Integration
  • Paula Shelton, lawyer
  • Melissa Yang, carer and physician at Western Health

The inaugural board has been appointed to a six-year term and will review the Act after five years. Appointments will take effect on July 1.

With 68 safeguards, the Voluntary Assisted Dying framework is the safest, and most conservative, in the world. It will provide Victorians with a terminal illness genuine choice at the end of their lives.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Betty King QC is one of Victoria’s most respected judicial officers. We’re proud to have Judge King chair a highly-skilled board charged with developing the most stringent standards and protocols.”

“The Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board features a broad mix of legal experts, health practitioners and administrators, researchers, carers and the community.”

“We’re proud to be giving Victorians with terminal illnesses the choice they deserve at the end of their lives.”