SA the 4th state to achieve Voluntary Assisted Dying


On the 17th attempt, the final stage of the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill took place at 11.05 on the morning of June 24, 2021.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill (2020) passed both chambers of the South Australian Parliament, twice.

The final debate followed additional amendments passed in the Legislative Council the evening before, June 23, requiring the House of Assembly to also consider and agree to the same amendments.

The VAD Bill finally passed through the House of Assembly on the voices, with no Division called and no opposition.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020 had previously been passed in the Legislative Council on May 25, with a vote of 14 to 7, and then the House of Assembly, with the overwhelming 33 to 11 in the early hours of Thursday June 10.

The VAD Bill returned to the Legislative Council for consideration of amendments agreed in the House of Assembly during the six hour committee stage debate on June 9-10. These amendments principally related to providing an institutional conscientious objection for faith based health providers. Private hospitals will be allowed an exemption from allowing VAD on their premises; residential aged care facilities can refuse to provide VAD services themselves, but must allow a resident to consult with their own health care providers to provide a VAD service.

As a result of the institutional conscientious objection granted by the amendments, it is understood that given their previously expressed opposition, Catholic and Lutheran managed institutions may in the future direct that their staff not participate in voluntary assisted dying and their premises not be used for voluntary assisted dying. Given this position, it is important that anyone preparing an Advance Care Directive (ACD) who thinks that at some time in the future they may wish to request voluntary assisted dying, should include in their ACD, the direction that they do not wish to be treated in a Catholic or Lutheran managed institution.

On June 23, the Health Minister moved two additional amendments in relation to retirement villages requiring the Bill to be returned to the HOA. Fortunately the HOA was able to consider these amendments the following morning. 

The VAD Bill, incorporating all amendments passed in the House of Assembly on June 9-10, is available here.

In the final 33 yes votes in the House of Assembly on June 10, 17 were Liberal Party or Liberal Independents and 16 were Labor Party or Labor Independents. Removing the Independents, it was 15 yes votes from each major political party.

Further detail on the debate in the House of Assembly, and the link to the Hansard, is available here.