Adapted from SAVES — South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia SocietyThe following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES). For further information visit their website at 

Australian Public Opinion

Around three quarters of Australians are in favour of doctors being able to give a lethal dose if requested by a hopelessly ill patient experiencing unrelievable suffering. 

This statement is based on responses in Australia to the following Morgan Poll question: 

“If a hopelessly ill patient, experiencing unrelievable suffering, with absolutely no chance of recovering, asks for a lethal dose, so as not to wake again, should a doctor be allowed to give a lethal dose or not ?” 

47% said “yes” to a similar question in 1962. The percentage has steadily increased over the years and has been above 70% throughout the 1990’s. 

78% said “yes” in 1993, in 1994 and again in 1995. 76% said “yes” in September 1996, only 24% saying “no” or “undecided” (Finding No. 2933). 

The percentages by religious persuasion saying “yes” in May 1996 (Finding No. 2911) were: 

Anglican 81% 
Methodist 76% 
Presbyterian 73% 
Roman Catholic 69% 
Uniting Church 73% 
No religious preference 85% 

A substantial survey of those who attend church showed that there were more supporters (42%) of voluntary euthanasia than opponents (30%), with 28% undecided. (See “Views from the Pews”, Openbook publishers, Adelaide, 1995). 

Polls conducted in Britain, Canada and the United States show support at a similar level. 

Although public opinion polls have their weaknesses, there can be no doubt of widespread support for allowing a hopelessly ill and suffering patient legal access to a requested medically hastened death. 


Further information contact SAVES at: 

Or contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia – Fax + 61 8 8265 2287