Elizabeth Habermann

Voluntary assisted dying advocate

2023 SA Local Hero Nominee

Elizabeth Habermann’s 19-year-old son Rhys took medication to end his own life in January 2017. Rhys died at home peacefully with members of his family after eighteen months of agonising bone cancer that had spread and was terminal. At the time, what he did was illegal. 

Rhys recorded a video to protect his family from prosecution, but the Habermanns were investigated by police for 18 months. Rhys’s room was even called a crime scene.  

Despite one trauma after another, Elizabeth has continued her son’s advocacy for voluntary assisted dying. She has spoken to politicians and the media, sharing her family’s experience and grief to raise awareness of the need for voluntary assisted dying.  

Elizabeth was instrumental in the recent change of law that means South Australia will soon allow voluntary assisted dying.  

This means terminally ill patients and their families will never again experience the unnecessary hurt her family did.