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South Australia

Legal situation

In short

On June 24 of 2021, South Australian became the 4th Australian state with a VAD law. The bill only needs royal assent and implementation before it comes into effect. The implementation period is expected to be no longer than 18 months.

South Australian VAD Bill 2020

The bill was largely modelled on the law in Victoria. 

  • Only those with an advanced disease likely to cause death within six months – or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases – are eligible to be part of the process.
  • It is also only open to those older than 18 who have been living in the state for at least a year and are a permanent resident of Australia. 
  • As in Victoria, there must be two doctors making independent assessments of any requests for voluntary assisted dying. 
  • Likewise, as per other states, no health practitioner or healthcare provider is obliged to take part in the voluntary assisted dying process in South Australia and conscientious objectors are legally protected.

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.

Right to Die Societies in South Australia

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