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The Exit Internationalist

June 27, 2021

Voluntary assisted dying to become law in South Australia

The ABC reports:

Voluntary assisted dying to become law in South Australia after a three-decade long battle by voluntary euthanasia campaigners, South Australia has become the fourth state in the nation to pass legislation on voluntary assisted dying, after eleventh-hour amendments to the bill, so says the ABC.

Key points

  • South Australia has joined Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia in approving a voluntary assisted dying scheme
  • Patients in SA could access a voluntary euthanasia scheme as early as the end of next year
  • It was the 17th attempt in 26 years in SA, and comes after persistent campaigning by advocates

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill has just been passed by the South Australian Parliament, after securing the support of both the Upper and Lower houses.

It means patients in the state could access assisted dying as early as the end of next year.

The passing of the legislation represents a landmark in a lengthy campaign for assisted dying reform, and the bill was the 17th attempt in 26 years to legalise euthanasia in SA.

The bill will now go to the SA Governor for assent, before authorities start work to implement the scheme within 18 to 24 months to enable Voluntary Assisted Dying to become law in South Australia.

Rhys’s final wish

When terminally ill teenager Rhys Habermann (also an Exit Member) delivered his final message four years ago, his aim was to protect his parents from the risk of prosecution.

The state’s legislation is modelled on Victoria’s existing laws, which include more than 70 safeguards.

Additional amendments voted in on Wednesday will allow private hospitals as well as individual medical practitioners to conscientiously object if they refer patients to a place where they can access the scheme.

Other amendments made sure that residents in aged care and retirement villages could access the scheme in their own homes or units.

“These amendments are sensible and in fact consistent with the lengthy and very high-quality debate we had in this chamber a couple of weeks ago,” Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close said in Parliament.

“They reflect the intention, I think, of people in acknowledging that when someone is living in their own home, be that run by an organisation such as an aged care facility, and in this amendment’s case a retirement village, that that person has the right to have access to lawfully-available interventions and medical advice.”

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Vickie Chapman also supported that amendment.

“I rise to indicate my support [of] the motion,” she said.

“What this essentially does is ensure that when we look at aged care accommodation, that it is not just confined to Commonwealth residential aged care facilities but also state-based retirement villages.”

Eligible participants must be over 18, have lived in SA for at least a year and be deemed compliant by two doctors.

Their condition must be terminal, causing intolerable suffering and expected to cause death within weeks or months.

Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania have already made voluntary assisted dying legal, and Queensland plans to vote on the issue before its next state election.


Editor’s Note

Exit Member Rhys Habermann died peacefully at home using Nembutal he had imported after reading the Peaceful Pill eHandbook.

The bad part of his death was the Police’s traumatic treatment of his family after he had gone.

Read the Rhys Habermann back story

Ironically, in the same week, Border Force seized one elderly couple’s print Peaceful Pill Handbook that they had ordered from overseas.

The unfortunate couple from an Adelaide beachside suburb wrote:

We recently purchased a copy of The Peaceful Pill Handbook.

We ordered it on 19/5/21 and received our seizure notice 24/6/21.

We have no intention of using the information yet, but because we have a frail elderly relative with dementia and double incontinence who has been in a nursing home for 2 years, we would like to be prepared for the future.

We don’t want to end up in that situation.

We are very disappointed that we have been denied access to the information.

Yours sincerely X


Voluntary assisted dying to become law in South Australia