Our Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

  • Even with optimal palliative care, many patients still suffer a prolonged and distressing death with symptoms that medical science is not able to adequately relieve.
  • Fear of a bad death is leading patients to take their own lives, often in violent and lonely circumstances. Coronial data and the reports from two parliamentary inquiries suggests that 8-10% of all suicides are of people who have a terminal or debilitating medical condition.
  • Evidence shows that voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws have been shown to work safely and effectively in other jurisdictions.
  • Evidence published by Palliative Care Australia indicates that delivery of palliative care in jurisdictions with VAD laws has not been adversely affected and may have been enhanced.
  • There is very high community support for VAD with independent surveys indicating 85% public approval.
  • The introduction of VAD laws is consistent with the delivery of patient centred care and a doctor’s duty to relieve suffering.
  • Having the option of an assisted death has a palliative effect. Having a sense of control and removing fear of a bad death allows patients better quality of life as the end approaches.
  • Witnessing a bad death can have a profound and traumatic effect on family members and healthcare workers.
  • Assistance may be by doctor prescription of medication for personal consumption, or by doctor administration.
  • The Australian Medical Association should adopt a position of neutrality on VAD and not oppose laws which put the wishes of individual patients first.
  • The passage of voluntary assisted dying laws in Victoria (2017) and Western Australia (2019) followed extensive parliamentary inquiries which carefully examined the evidence and concluded that it was possible to create and implement appropriately safeguarded VAD laws.