South Australian residents, here's a chance for positive action!

SA’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020, introduced by Labor's Kyam Maher in late 2020, is being debated in the state's Legislative Council today, and again on 31st March and 5th May.

The main points of the legislation are:

  • A person can receive medical assistance to die if they are assessed by two doctors as being eligible -- ie, if they:
    • Are over 18 years of age with decision making capacity;
    • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident living in South Australia for 12 months;
    • Have a disease, illness or medical condition which is incurable, advanced, progressive and will cause death within 6 months (or 12 months for a neurodegenerative condition);
    • Are assessed to have suffering which cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable.
  • A person is not eligible for only a mental illness or a disability.
  • Doctors can have conscientious objection to not participate in this process.
  • There is a 9 day wait after first request (unless the Co-ordinating Medical Practitioner believes person will die sooner) and a person can revoke their request at any time.
  • There will be annual reports required by Parliament and review of the Act after four years, and a Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board is required to provide statistics which are publicly available.

Please show your support for this legislation during this part of the process by contacting as many members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) as possible. Ask them to support the bill and give the reason(s) why you support it.

As Kyam Maher said when he first introduced the bill:

It's time to change this law. it's time to let terminally ill South Australians safely and legally choose how to end their life. People deserve to die with the same dignity that they lived their life.

Tips for communicating your support:

  • Be respectful and polite.
  • Short communications are best unless you have a personal story to tell -- in which case, please do so.
  • MLCs don’t have electorates; all of them represent all of us, so you can usefully contact anyone or everyone.
  • Emails to multiple MLCs can all be the same but it is best to send them individually.

There is a list of current MLCs available here, with contact details: https://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/en/Legislative-Council/Members

Please spread the word to anyone else who might be interested in supporting this issue.

At the National Secular Lobby, we're pleased to have joined forces with a number of pro-secular community organisations in the #DontDivideUs campaign against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. Add your voice to the campaign.