After the South Australian VAD bill passed its first Lower House hurdle last May, another hurdle in the Lower House was passed now too! Early June 10, South Australia’s the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed the Lower House with 33 votes to 11.
Ahead of the vote, dedicated supporters were once again on the steps of Parliament (pictured below), making clear to MPs heading inside that public support for this issue is overwhelmingly strong. After 17 bills and 25 years, the determination of hundreds of advocates past and present has paid off: SA is on track to become the fourth Australian state to pass a VAD law.
This is the first piece of Australian VAD legislation to explicitly extend the right of conscientious objection beyond individuals to institutions. In SA, hospitals will be able to exercise the right but aged care facilities will not. This ensures faith-based aged care providers will not be able to stop an eligible person accessing VAD in their home if they wish. This is an important addition. Laws in other states are silent on this issue. The timetable is yet to be confirmed, but the bill is expected to become law in the coming weeks.
Since the Lower House amended the bill, it must return to the Upper House for final endorsement. This is expected to be at June 23.