Voluntary Assisted Dying law reform is state legislation.
Voluntary Assisted Dying South Australia (VADSA) was formed to lobby, campaign and advocate in South Australia for the health benefits of legal voluntary assisted dying.
President: Frances Coombe
Vice Presidents: Dr Julia Anaf, Anne Bunning
Hon Secretary: Dr Frances Greenwood
Hon Treasurer: Jo Hayhurst
Membership Officer: Elice Herraman
Patrons: Em Prof John Willoughby, Em Prof Graham Nerlich
Phone 0421 305 684 email [email protected]
VADSA was established in 1983 as the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES) to campaign for legal voluntary euthanasia. Since the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying Acts in both Victoria and Western Australia, VADSA has adopted the more inclusive term Voluntary Assisted Dying to describe a legal end of life choice.
VADSA is a registered charity under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) and has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Tax Office.
VADSA holds regular public meetings at the Box Factory, Regent St South, Adelaide.
VADSA aim is to stop the suffering of people at the end of their life.
VADSA Primary Objective
To achieve legal Voluntary Assisted Dying in South Australia.
A Voluntary Assisted Dying law would allow a person to request medical assistance to die when their suffering becomes unbearable. Granting of the request would be dependent on the person meeting agreed criteria which would be specified in the legislation, similar to provisions in Voluntary Assisted Dying Acts in Victoria and Western Australia. Criteria could include
To change the law in South Australia so that, provided agreed safeguards are met, it is legal for a person to request and receive assistance to die. Safeguards would include
The person’s suffering is unbearable
There are no further treatments available to relieve the person’s suffering
Two independent doctors have assessed and diagnosed the person’s condition
The person has been informed of all options
The person’s request has been witnessed by two independent witnesses
The person is an adult, and assessed as being of sound mind
A cooling off period has been provided after the request.
VADSA works to achieve our aim and objective through three key strategies.
Strategy 1: Advocate to MPs
VADSA encourages members and friends to talk to their local State Member of Parliament about the need for law reform to legalise voluntary assisted dying. Voluntary Assisted Dying Bills in South Australia have all been presented by Private Members, and MPs have been allowed a conscience vote during the debate on each Bill. This means that each MP makes their own decision on how they will vote and whether they will propose any amendments. MPs listen to their constituents and it is essential that they hear from supporters of voluntary assisted dying.
VADSA has held regular events in Rundle Mall and on the steps of Parliament, where members of the public are invited to write to their local State MP explaining why they want them to support law reform.
Strategy 2: Consult on legislation
VADSA works with MPs on the development of Bills and amendments. VADSA has been involved in the development of every one of the 15 Bills presented to the South Australian Parliament since the first Bill tabled by John Quirke in 1995 (ALP, Member for Playford).
Strategy 3: Inform and Encourage Public Debate
VADSA undertakes many activities to stimulate pubic debate to end suffering at the end of life and make voluntary assisted dying legal. These include:
Public forums in the Box Factory, Regent St South, Adelaide twice each year, and occasional forums.
Publication of the VADSA Bulletin three times each year with news and updates on the campaign.
Distribution of the VADSA Newsletter to each MP every sitting week, highlighting a different area of debate each week.
Nick McBride, Member for MacKillop, addresses VADSA meeting in The Box Factory, May 2019
Responding to and initiating interest from the media.
Supporting Advocacy Groups representing doctors, nurses, paramedics, people with disabilities, young people, christians and lawyers.
Providing the VADSA display for use in public spaces such as libraries, schools and community centres.
VADSA provides speakers for community or corporate groups.
VADSA produces pamphlets to inform public debate.
The VADSA campaign for law reform is undertaken in the knowledge that a majority of Australians have consistently supported voluntary assisted dying for a person with unrelievable suffering.
In the 2017 Morgan Poll, 85% of Australians supported the choice of voluntary assisted dying for a person with unrelievable suffering.
The Victorian Parliament passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Act in 2017, which came into effect in June 2019.
The WA Parliament passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Act in 2019 and it commenced in July 2021.
The Tasmanian Parliament passed their End of Life Choice (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act on March 23, 2021. It is due to commence late 2022.
The South Australian Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act on June 24, 2021. No commencement date has been set.
The Queensland Parliament passed its VAD Bill on September 16, 2021. It is due to commence in December 2022.
The New South Wales Parliament is expected to have a VAD Bill tabled later in October 2021.
By July 2021, when Victoria and WA VAD Acts were both in operation, one in three Australians had access to a legal choice of voluntary assisted dying. By the end of 2022, when Tasmania, SA and Queensland VAD Acts commence, two in three Australians will have access to a compassionate choice at the end of life.
17m Australians - 66% - now live in a state where their Parliament has passed a VAD Act.