About the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society

Voluntary Assisted Dying law reform is state legislation. 

SAVES was formed to lobby, campaign and advocate in South Australia for the health benefits of legal voluntary assisted dying.

President: Frances Coombe

Vice Presidents: Dr Julia Anaf, Kip Fuller

Hon Secretary: Dr Frances Greenwood

Hon Treasurer: Jo Hayhurst

Membership Officer: Elice Herraman

Committee Member: Kip Fuller

Patrons: Em Prof John Willoughby, Em Prof Graham Nerlich

 

SAVES was established in 1983 to campaign for legal voluntary euthanasia. Since the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying Acts in both Victoria and Western Australia, SAVES has adopted the more inclusive term Voluntary Assisted Dying to describe a legal end of life choice.

SAVES is a registered charity under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) and has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Tax Office.

SAVES holds regular public meetings.

SAVES Aim

SAVES aim is to stop the suffering of people at the end of their life.

SAVES Primary Objective

To change the law in South Australia so that, provided agreed safeguards are met, it is legal for a person to request and receive assistance to die. Safeguards would include

  • The person’s suffering is unbearable

  • There are no further treatments available to relieve the person’s suffering

  • Two independent doctors have assessed and diagnosed the person’s condition

  • The person has been informed of all options

  • The person’s request has been witnessed by two independent witnesses

  • The person is an adult, and assessed as being of sound mind

  • A cooling off period has been provided after the request.

SAVES Strategies

SAVES works to achieve our aim and objective through three key strategies.

Strategy 1: Advocate to MPs

SAVES encourages members and friends to talk to their local State Member of Parliament about the need for law reform to legalise voluntary assisted dying. Voluntary Assisted Dying Bills in South Australia have all been presented by Private Members, and MPs have been allowed a conscience vote during the debate on each Bill. This means that each MP makes their own decision on how they will vote and whether they will propose any amendments. MPs listen to their constituents and it is essential that they hear from supporters of voluntary assisted dying. 

SAVES has held regular events in Rundle Mall, where members of the public are invited to write to their local State MP explaining why they want them to support law reform.

Strategy 2: Consult on legislation

SAVES works with MPs on the development of Bills and amendments. SAVES has been involved in the development of every one of the 15 Bills presented to the South Australian Parliament since the first Bill tabled by John Quirke in 1995 (ALP, Member for Playford).

Strategy 3: Inform and Encourage Public Debate

SAVES undertakes many activities to stimulate pubic debate to end suffering at the end of life and make voluntary assisted dying legal. These include:

  • Public forums in the Box Factory, Regent St South, Adelaide twice each year, and special forums such as the June 2015 forum at the Hawke Centre.

  • Publication of the SAVES Bulletin three times each year with news and updates on the campaign.

  • Distribution of the SAVES Newsletter to each MP every sitting week, highlighting a different area of debate each week.

  • Responding to and initiating interest from the media.

  • Supporting Advocacy Groups representing doctors, nurses, paramedics, people with disabilities, young people, christians and lawyers.

  • Providing the SAVES display for use in public spaces such as libraries, schools and community centres.

  • fullsizeoutput_61aa.jpeg

    SAVES provides speakers for community or corporate groups.

  • SAVES produces pamphlets to inform public debate.

  • May 2019

The SAVES campaign for law reform is undertaken in the knowledge that a majority of Australians have consistently supported voluntary assisted dying. In the 2017 Morgan Poll, 85% of Australians supported the choice of voluntary assisted dying for a person with unrelievable suffering.

The Victorian Parliament passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Act in 2017, which came into effect in June 2019.

The WA Parliament passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Act in 2019 and it will come into effect in mid 2021.

This will mean that one in three Australians will have access to a legal choice of voluntary assisted dying by mid 2021.

Nick McBride, Member for MacKillop, addresses SAVES meeting in The Box Factory, May 2019

All SAVES activity is managed and undertaken by volunteers.