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Fourth Aussie state passes VAD law

24 June, 2021

South Australia is the fourth Australian state - and the second this year - to legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying.

After 25 years and 17 attempts, South Australia's parliament has taken the final step to pass the voluntary assisted dying bill into law.

Both houses of parliament have ratified the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020 and its amendments. The Bill now heads to the Governor for royal assent.

Eligible terminally ill South Australians who wish to access medical assistance to die will be able to do so likely in 2022, after an 18-month implementation period (which is yet to be confirmed).

The law allows adults who are diagnosed with a terminal illness that will end their life within six months, or a year for neurological disorders, and who are sufffering in a way that is intolerable to them, to seek medical assistance to hasten their death. Two independent doctors must assess the mental competency of applicants and that they are acting free from duress. 

South Australia now joins Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania in passing assisted dying laws.

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We applaud every individual who made this momentous achievement possible

So many people played a role in securing this historic win for compassion. These include: Kyam Maher MLC, who wrote and introduced this private member's bill to the Upper House.

Susan Close MP, whose joint sponsorship and stewardship was instrumental in the bill's success in the Lower House.

Voluntary Assisted Dying SA (VADSA), expertly led by Frances Coombe, Anne Bunning, Lainie Anderson and Justine Firth, and flanked by a dedicated membership.

Indefatigable local advocates including Angie Miller, Ceara Rickard, Jacqui Possingham, Jan Kemble, Jane Qualmann, Kym Watson, Liz Habermann and Susie Byrne.

And every advocate, past and present, who bravely shared their stories, contacted MPs and volunteered their precious time.

This historic moment also honours those who are no longer with us, but whose courageous advocacy was instrumental in changing MPs' hearts and minds.

 

A win for compassion and evidence

Features of the South Australian campaign were the respect shown on all sides of the debate and the reliance on evidence to formulate public policy. Go Gentle Australia's time spent speaking with MPs and our evidence-based resources, including the Better Off Dead podcast and our e-books and submissions, were central to the success.

The SA law is based on Victoria's landmark VAD Act, which has been operating safely for more than two years. it is similar to bills passed in Western Australia and Tasmania and signifies the emergence of an 'Australian model' for assisted dying legislation.

Almost 12 million Australians now live in a state with VAD laws

Go Gentle Australia won't rest until all of us have access to compassionate and humane choice at the end of life.

Queensland will vote on their bill in September with NSW and the Territories to follow.

We thank everyone for their part in this movement. Your tenacity and determination is achieving tangible change for terminally ill people at the end of their lives.

To help us change the law across Australia please consider making a tax deductible gift.

Click here to donate today. 

 

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