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Reportable deaths under the voluntary assisted dying Bill

15 November 2022

 

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise to indicate the Greens' support for the Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General's Portfolio) (No. 3) Bill. The Greens have been very supportive of voluntary assisted dying laws across the country for over a decade, with the Greens campaigning strongly in every jurisdiction for this reform. In South Australia, my predecessor, the then Hon. Mark Parnell, twice moved for voluntary euthanasia bills—

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I apologise; I understand he is still honourable. I would like to acknowledge both the Hon. Mark Parnell and my colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks for their work on this important reform over many years in this parliament. Indeed, there is strong support across our movement within the Greens in terms of euthanasia reform.

The bill before us today ensures that deaths that occur under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act do not require an investigation by the South Australian Coroner. The Attorney-General indicated a concern about the current situation where the Coroner is required to provide findings in these types of deaths, leading to delays in finalising the affairs of deceased persons. The Greens share this concern. We believe we should minimise the risk of increased trauma for families in what is, of course, a very difficult situation for them.

However, there is provision to ensure that the Coroner can still investigate deaths that do not occur in accordance with the voluntary assisted dying scheme to ensure that legislative processes are enacted correctly. We consider this to be an important safeguard within the scheme. Furthermore, this bill ensures that deaths under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act are reported in the Coroner's annual report. The Greens believe that reporting these figures is an important transparency measure.

The Greens support the measures outlined in the bill and are pleased that the government has indicated an intention to bring the voluntary assisted dying scheme into operation as soon as possible. I put on the record our belief that that cannot happen soon enough for families and those who are terminally ill and are waiting to access the scheme. With that, I conclude my remarks.