Dear Member, Friend
A warm welcome to those who joined us this year!
Great News! In June 2014 the Quebec Parliament passed an Act respecting end-of-life care, which allows terminally ill patients to choose an assisted death. The vote was 94 in favour and only 22 against, and all four political parties WORKED TOGETHER to achieve this result. The Act was passed with a standing ovation!
It was thought there would be a legal challenge to this Act, but instead –
The Supreme Court of Canada, February 2015, in a unanimous decision by 9 judges has stated “The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” and has given the Canadian Parliament 12 months to introduce legislation to comply with the Supreme Court guidelines.
There can be no doubt that this “fundamental justice” should also apply to all Australians!
If you add to this the fact that the Canadian Medical Association have relaxed their opposition to assisting in a death “each doctor can act in accordance with their conscience within the law” – Canada is making the progress we would like in Australia.
In Federal Parliament, Senator Di Natale instigated a Parliamentary Inquiry into a Draft Dying with Dignity (Medical Services) Bill. I made a submission to this Inquiry. It is hoped the Bill will be debated later in 2015. I would urge you all to contact your Federal Member and ask if they are “Pro Choice” for Voluntary Assisted Dying. I can assist with contact details if asked.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland is trying to have the Victorian Upper House pass a motion that would allow the Victorian Law Reform Commission to investigate and report back to Parliament on assisted dying. I urge our Victorian members to very promptly contact their MLCs in support and again I can assist with contact details on request.
For the NSW State Election on Saturday 28 March 2015, ascertaining if MPs and candidates support Medical Assistance in Dying has been a priority. I emailed or “Facebooked” every sitting MP and all major candidates. VEP Upper House lead candidate Shayne Higson polled well but was unsuccessful.
There have been no VE Bills before Parliament recently, hence no Group letters have been sent. However Bills are possible in NSW, Tasmania and SA in the next 12 months. I regret to report the death of Dr Bob Such, Independent MP in SA, who had put forward 9 assisted dying Bills. I thank my colleagues Rev Dr Craig de Vos and Rev Trevor Bensch for their continuing advice and support, and also welcome Rev Sherri Weinberg’s offer to assist me.
In the last 12 months I was a speaker at the World Federation of Right to Die Societies Conference in Chicago and also spoke at a Probus meeting and U3A in NSW. I have met with a number of MPs, written numerous letters to the Editor, and had two articles published. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17148 and http://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/story/2971731/ian-wood-the-critical-word-is-choice/?cs=26
Our website has been revamped so that I can now publish news updates on the site.
PLEASE ADVISE ME of ANY CHANGE OF ADDRESS, so that we can keep our records up to date. IF YOU HAVE EMAIL, please advise me of any new or altered email address.
Group Membership continues to be free. Sincere thanks to members who have made donations during the year to assist with postage, printing & other expenses. Your generosity inspires me! If you wish, donations may be made by cheque payable to Christians Supporting Choice for VE, or direct deposit to BSB: 105-003 A/C: 119890940 Please identify a direct deposit with your name. Our promotional leaflet continues to attract new members. If you would like some leaflets or copies of our reprinted Booklet I Want the Choice of a Peaceful Death to pass on to interested friends please contact me.
PS – May 6, 2015
In a move endorsed by our Group, the Parliament in the state of Victoria, has decided to hold an Inquiry “to inquire into, consider and report, no later than 31 May 2016, on the need for laws in Victoria to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end of life choices and, in particular, the Committee should —
(1) assess the practices currently being utilised within the medical community to assist a person to exercise their preferences for the way they want to manage their end of life, including the role of palliative care;
(2) review the current framework of legislation, proposed legislation and other relevant reports and materials in other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions; and
(3) consider what type of legislative change may be required, including an examination of any federal laws that may impact such legislation.”