South Australian MPs vote on voluntary euthanasia

The South Australian parliament is no stranger to attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia. In fact, there have been 14 attempts
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill speaks about voluntary euthanasia during a debate earlier this year. Source: Jay Weatherill/YouTube

The South Australian parliament is no stranger to attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia.

In fact, there have been 14 attempts over the years to make it legal.

As you may have read here on SAS before, South Australian MPs have been considering a bill on voluntary euthanasia for the past few months.

And, for the 15th time, South Australia has said no to voluntary euthanasia.

The ABC is reporting that MPs debated the Death with Dignity legislation until 4am this morning.

Read more: Finally, we’re a step closer to legalising voluntary euthanasia in Australia

So, how did it happen?

Well, things were looking good for the bill when MPs voted 27 to 19 in favour of reading the bill a second time.

But after the bill was read clause by clause, a conscience vote left the MPs split 23 votes to 23.

Speaker Michael Atkinson then voted against the bill to end South Australia’s 15th attempt at legalising voluntary euthanasia.

The decision has disappointed supporters of voluntary euthanasia, especially considering the Death with Dignity legislation had many provisions including that only someone with a terminal illness and suffering with “unbearable pain” could request voluntary euthanasia.

The bill also would have meant a person could only undertake voluntary euthanasia if their decision was endorsed by at least two doctors.

Read more: Doctor warns of dangers of keeping voluntary euthanasia illegal

You might be wondering why Atkinson voted against voluntary euthanasia?

Well, he said it was defeated because it was considered by “a group of sleepless and irritable MPs for hours and hours until 4am”.

“Duncan McFetridge had a very bad six hours in which he was unable to answer most of the questions about this bill,” he told ABC radio.

“If someone else had been put in charge of the bill, if it had been considered during daylight hours, clause by clause in a patient and sophisticated way, over several days, it may have been carried.

“It’s a textbook example of bad legislative practice, to be considering this between 10pm and 4am.”

Read more: The never ending debate over voluntary euthanasia

Is that the end of voluntary euthanasia for South Australia?

Well, according to the MP who introduced the bill to parliament, the debate is not over.

“I think the South Australia Parliament will see this again,” Liberal MP Duncan McFetridge told the ABC.

“I won’t know whether it will be before the next election. If the Victorians get it up, well who knows?”

What do you think? Are you disappointed in the decision of the South Australian parliament?



  1. desleigh clarke  

    Should be allowed all over Australia – how dare anyone tell anyone else what to do with their lives – including ending it if they so desire, rather than live in pain and agony slowly wasting away.

    • Joy Anne Bourke  

      Yes I totally agree. Should be available now especially for terminally ill people and dementia people. I have watched for 9 years my step mother go through this and would never wish this on anyone. Unable to remember anyone or anything for last couple of years.

  2. Jo Carson  

    These people have no guts. Have a go at living in the real world and grow a backbone!

  3. Vicki Wolstencroft  

    I watched a very dear friend of mine die a very slow and agonising death due to cancer. You wouldn’t put your dog through what we humans have to suffer. IT SHOULD BE OUR CHOICE!

  4. It is getting very disappointing that Local, State and Federal Governments have the right to speak on the communities behalf when in actual fact they have NOT asked the community. I would not like to wish the pain and suffering these people endure for what is described as dying with dignity, nobody dies with dignity especially those suffering under a death sentence regardless.. At what point do we as individuals choose enough pain is enough pain. I do not want a Government telling me “you have to live in pain and suffering, why, because I said so”…Poor choice S.A.

  5. Sadly our parliamentary members no longer represent the people who elected them. It’s an abuse of their position to cop out on a conscience vote. Vote according your electorate’s wishes.

  6. as I recall NT passed this into law when Howard was in power but He stepped in and said they couldn’t do it and he had it squashed .
    I’d like to see all politicians who oppose it contract a painful debilitating disease that makes them wish that they had passed it .

  7. K Lodge  

    Very sad to learn that once again the choice has been taken from the people by our elected members of parliament.

  8. Tracy Barakat  

    The parliament can debate the euthanasia issue until 4am or until the cows come home for all I care.
    If the time ever comes when I decide I want ‘to go’….I will go !
    And the lawmakers can scream and jump as much as they like, BUT…
    It’s my life and if I want to end it.I WILL END IT !!

  9. Denise Gillespie  

    I am bitterly disappointed that common sense and compassion did not prevail in this instance. How many of these people voting have sat beside the bed of a loved one and watched them die a slow and agonising death. I have just spent 5 weeks sitting with my husband and it is something I will never forget. The Palliative care nurses were absolutluely amazing and kept him as pain free as possible with the morphine pump however if my husband had to be moved in any way his pain was horrendous. That was okay if the nurses were present as they were able to give him a morphine injection before they moved him but during the day and night if we needed to change him etc we weren’t able to give him a morphine injection and the pain he experienced was excruciating. If there is absolutely no medical hope for someone why the hell can’t they end their misery without someone else telling them what they have to do with their lives.

  10. What right has this or any Government got to say we can not decide upon our fate. if I was terminally ill, and in great pain, I would want the right to say enough is enough, and end it. How dare anyone else decide decide when and how I should end my life. If they want a say in how I die, then they can have all the bills that would go with it to keep me alive, in pain and with no hope. Keep your nose out of my business, let’s face it you can not even run this state, so how the hell can you justify this on a conscience vote. I am sure you would stand by and watch one of your loved ones go through hell if they were terminally ill, and I don’t think. Just bloody hypocrits.

  11. Guy  

    I wonder whether we should be having a plebiscite on this one ? Conscience votes by our politicians are not the answer. My local
    federal member has totally differing views to my own on voluntary euthanasia, and why should he be allowed to vote in Parliament
    when he is quite possibly going in the complete opposite to the views of the majority of his constituents ?
    Yes, I too have suffered the trauma of my mother-in-law’s horrible death over a 5 year period. Countless times I remember her
    pleading for us to “Please stop this awful pain”.

  12. Elizabeth Litster  

    I fully support voluntary euthanasia. Both my parents died from bowl cancer after a prolonged fight against the disease. I watched them slowly and painfully fade away.Apparently I have a very high chance of contracting this disease as it is rife throughout my family. I am also allergic to codeine, pethidine and morphine. One of the arguments against VE is that palliative care can be used to make sure people don’t suffer. In my case HOW?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *