Karuna’s position on Voluntary Assisted Dying

Voluntary assisted dying has been an ongoing subject of discussion in Australia for some time. It has been passed into law in a number of states.

Voluntary assisted dying legislation was passed into law by the Queensland Parliament in September 2021 and came into effect in January 2023.

Karuna Hospice acknowledges the broad range of opinions on this issue within the Australian community which reflects our diversity of cultures and belief systems.  We recognise that some people may elect to request voluntary assisted dying at end of life.

At Karuna our focus is on supporting clients and families to achieve their goals and wishes as best we can and will continue to provide our Service regardless of choices clients make regarding voluntary assisted dying. However, Karuna staff will not be actively involved or facilitate voluntary assisted dying.

The reasons for this are as follows:

1. Voluntary assisted dying is not in accordance with the underlying Buddhist values of our organisation which include respecting the sanctity, value and dignity of all life.

2. Our belief, like that of Palliative Care Australia, is that the practice of palliative care, does not include voluntary assisted dying.

In our practice, we do not intend to either hasten or postpone death.

The main goals of our care are symptom relief, minimising suffering, respecting choices, and improving the client’s quality of life.