I, Ian Wood, wrote to NSW Senator Burston a cover letter to accompany a letter from Carol Cronk, that outlined an incurable neurological condition that Carol is experiencing, and asking the Senator to support the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill, that could have resulted in a voluntary assisted dying law. Carol is a committed supporter of our group.
We were both very pleased when we received this letter of support from the Senator.
Burston clearly states “I will be supporting the bill”. Yet eight days later he voted against the bill! He did not speak on the Bill during the debate. Readers will note that the Senator has One Nation Senator on his letterhead, and signs himself Senator for United Australia Party. In retrospect that should have alerted my to the fact he could be two-faced!
Combined with Senator Georgiou, who also changed from a vote Yes, to a vote No, the Bill was lost 36 votes to 34.
I will leave readers to decide on the morality and ethics of this situation. Just what pressure was applied at the very last minute to Burston, and by whom?
After the vote, I sent Senator Burston’s letter back to him, with my comment written on it. Clearly I was not happy!
Carol was quite devastated. Obviously Burston has no thought or compassion for the damage his change of position has done for the truly vulnerable – those like Carol.
Carol also wrote back to Senator Burston, and with her permission I include the letter here. I will update this post if we receive a reply from the Senator.
Dear Senator Burston
Our hearts/spirits were intensely lifted by your positive letter to us, dated 7 August 2018 (Ref TS20180807) advising us that you absolutely were going to vote for the Restoring Territory Rights legislation, and this gave us hope that it would ultimately lead to “euthanasia- end of life choices”.
I write to now to express my disgust and betrayal of this letter of support. You have turned your back on us all, by voting against the bill. I/we were so crushed by it, especially as your vote destroyed all of our hopes.
As I advised you in my earlier letter, I have my diagnosis of a type of dementia, which is killing off my brain cells until its wrathful journey ends all of my brain functioning. It is taking my world away. I will not allow my family to view me this way.
My mother died with an illness that gave her physical unbearable suffering due to her broken fragile bones, her shoulders and ribs that would not mend Her every day was spent in tears, screams for help and pleas to end her suffering. Our memories are still raw in sadness with what we had to share/endure with her.
My respected Neurologist states: “once I am in that demented state ‘YOU won’t know – what you are doing etc.” However my family, spouse, children and grandchildren will share this horror perhaps for their remaining lives.
I would ask you Senator Burston, to visit a bed ridden dementia ward (we, my sister and I, called it death row). During your visit (unannounced) I would ask you to put yourself in the place of one of these people there. Would you prefer to live out your existing years like that? Or visit your wife/family or anyone that you love, in those circumstances? Please accept and agree this is a cruel and barbaric existence that YOU have determined by your vote they have to endure.
When I, and my husband with my children, accept that my brain ability has deteriorated so that it no longer functions, I/we will be forced to leave Australia for Dignitas Switzerland, to “end my life there compassionately”. Costly -and emotionally traumatic for myself and husband and for my children.
I/we and my family will “NEVER” put me into one of those end of life nursing facilities.
Senator Burston, your written words of promise – to vote towards changing the end of life laws – to give people the right to” die with dignity”- could have given me a quality of life to freely enjoy peace of mind, to be able to focus only on seizing every possible day, until my health ceases to allow me to do so.
Then allow me and others a rightful humane gift of ending our lives when all hope has gone.
Yours, in confusion.
36 Golding Street,
Yamba NSW 2464 21.8.2018