15 September 2020
In 2016 South Australia fell just one vote short of legalising voluntary assisted dying, which would have allowed the terminally ill the right to end their suffering painlessly and with dignity.
Now the push is on again to reignite the debate and get a Bill up and running before Parliament.
Registered Nurse Susie Byrne, convenor of the South Australian Nurses Supporting Choices in Dying, is urging ANMF (SA Branch) members to attend a rally on the steps of Parliament House next Wednesday, September 23, from 10am to 2pm, in support of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws.
(SA Branch) members planning to attend the rally are asked to register
their interest in attending so we can manage social distancing.
Register to attend the rally
“The End of Life Choices joint committee has now met and received all their submissions and pretty soon hopefully a Bill will be produced,’’ Ms Byrne said.
“So, we’re trying to raise awareness of voluntary assisted dying legislation and trying to get as many people as possible to participate, to write or ring their local MP.’’
She notes that had the Bill passed in 2016 South Australia would have been the first state to legalise VAD (Victoria and WA have since both passed similar laws). “We’ve come close a couple of times. This will probably be the 16th Bill,’’ Ms Byrne says.
“We’ve applied to have the gathering there,’’ she says of the Parliament steps rally. “We’ve met the COVID criteria, so there’ll be a maximum of 52 people allowed. If I saw 50 people on the steps I’d be besides myself with joy.
“We’re trying to convince the negative voters who always vote no regardless,’’ she says. “They need to hear that SAPOL are in favour, the Coroner supports us, the ANMF supports us, Professor Ian Maddocks, who is the grandfather of palliative care in Australia, he supports us.
“There’s a lot of support out there. If you extrapolate the 85 per cent community support, you can certainly carry that through to the nursing population too.
“SAPOL, they’ve come out with a very positive statement saying we need these laws because some of the suicides that they go to, the Coroner will find that there’s underlying terminal conditions.’’
This Saturday, September 19, ANMF members from the Eyre Peninsula community are encouraged to attend a meeting at the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, in the Chappel Meeting Room, 3/5 Daw St, Port Augusta, from 2.30pm.
Speakers include Ms Byrne, Anne Bunning, policy director of the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and Angie Miller, convenor of A Peaceful End, who will share her father’s story of end-of-life suffering.
Next month’s edition of INPractice magazine features a lead story on former TV star Andrew Denton and his fight to get South Australia to legalise voluntary assisted dying.
VAD Rally: Wednesday, 23 September, 10am to 2pm, Parliament House Steps, North Terrace.
ANMF (SA Branch) members planning to attend the rally are asked to register their interest in attending so we can manage social distancing.
Register to attend the rally