GGA supports call for royal commission into abuse of people with disabilities

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Go Gentle Australia strongly supports Western Australian Senator Jordon Steele-John’s call for a royal commission into the mistreatment of people with disabilities.

Just as Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law will shine a light on practices in treating vulnerable people, so a royal commission will do the same for Australians living with a disability.

As a compassionate and caring society, it is time to properly investigate allegations of abuse in this sector and move towards ending the pain, suffering and fear of those facing abuse instead of care.

Go Gentle Australia urges the Parliament not just to vote for a royal commission but to bring it into existence.

Andrew Denton, Director, Go Gentle Australia

Media contact: Steve Offner, 0468 464 360 

 


Vale Jenny Barnes

Nurse Jenny Barnes, who campaigned tirelessly for Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law, died on Sunday. Although seriously ill with a brain tumour, Jen (accompanied by Ken) sat through many hours of the parliamentary debates, a silent reminder to MPs of who these laws were for. Her tenacity, and compassion for others, was inspirational. She died in no pain and with the best of care. All of us at Go Gentle are grateful to have known her. We send our love to her husband Ken and her family.

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Newsletter December 2018

Thank you

2018 has been a busy year. We want to thank you for your ongoing efforts to help create better conversations around end of life choices. 

Your voting in Victoria helped safeguard the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 and this law will come into effect on 19 June 2019.

Your continuous pressure on the Queensland government resulted in an Inquiry into Aged Care, End-of-Life and Palliative Care, which is due to report on 30 November 2019. The committee will be calling for submissions early next year. If you are interested, you can register as a stakeholder here and receive regular updates.

You also generously supported our work financially, for which we are deeply grateful. A special thank you goes out to our regular donors whose monthly contributions make a significant difference. 

 

Our focus for next year will be on Western Australia, where the Government has appointed an expert panel to help draft a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. Former WA governor Malcolm McCusker QC will chair the team of eleven experts in the areas of aged care, medicine and law. A bill is expected around the middle of the year. 

While the support for a better end of life choice for the most vulnerable in our society, the terminally ill, continues to grow, this does not mean a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill will easily pass. 2019 will be an opportunity to create some real momentum if a bill passes in Western Australia, but we need your help

Help change the mind of a legislator by sharing your story. Personal testimonies, like the one from Sian Briggs about her father's death, clearly illustrate the need for legislation.  If you would like to speak to someone who can help you write or tell your story, please contact us via contact@gogentleaustralia.org.au or 0468 464 360 (Mon-Fri 9-5 AEST). You can also reach us via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or send an SMS. You can also share it via our secure website.

Ask a friend to sign up to our newsletter and help spread the word. 

We do not receive any government funding and entirely rely on donations. Any amount over $2 is tax deductible. 

 

Last but not least, we wish you a holiday season filled with love, family and friends and best wishes for the new year.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Warm regards

 

Kiki Paul
CEO

PS Our office will reopen on Monday 7 January.


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Go Gentle Australia is a registered charity. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.


Today we stand taller
- a message from Andrew Denton

Saturday's massive endorsement of the Andrews’ Government progressive social policies could not have been more significant for VAD reform in Australia.

It shattered, once and for all, the myth propagated by Right to Life and others, that VAD is electoral poison. The fact that some of the largest swings to Labor occurred in the four seats targeted by DWD Vic in their ‘nomoredebate’ campaign suggests the opposite.

The Victorian law will now operate - as intended - for 4 years. In so doing, it will show our opponents' fear campaign up for what it is: Misinformation deliberately designed to derail political support for a compassionate law supported by 80% of Australians.

The eventual effect on the rest of Australia will, I believe, be significant as long as there is a determination from principled politicians to pursue evidence-based policy-making.

I do believe (as the US has shown) that we will always have to remain vigilant against threat of repeal. That is why a win in WA is so important. It spreads the risk and reinforces the need.

I hope the growing army of VAD supporters around Australia take great heart from Saturday’s result. I urge you all to renew your efforts within your community. In particular, by approaching your local MP and raising the subject within the medical profession whenever the opportunity arises.

Victoria’s law happened because enough people of principle stood up for those too ill to stand up for themselves.

Today we stand taller. 

Please, invite someone to join you.

Andrew


How Victorian MPs voted on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017

With just over a week to go, here's a quick overview of how the Victorian MPs voted on the matter of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

In November 2017, Victoria was the first state to pass Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation, which was the result of a year long enquiry, followed by an Expert Ministerial Advisory Panel and more than 100 hours of parliamentary debate. 

 

Legislative Assembly - YES

MP Party MLA Electorate
Jacinta Allen Australian Labor Party Bendigo East
Daniel Andrews Australian Labor Party Mulgrave
Louise Asher Liberal Party Brighton
Roma Britnell Liberal Party South-West Coast
Joshua Bull Australian Labor Party Sunbury
Benjamin Carroll Australian Labor Party Niddrie
Christine Couzens Australian Labor Party Geelong
Liliana D'Ambrosio Australian Labor Party Mill Park
Stephen Dimopoulos Australian Labor Party Oakleigh
Luke Donnellan Australian Labor Party Narre Warren North
Paul Edbrooke Australian Labor Party Frankston
Janice (Maree) Edwards Australian Labor Party Bendigo West
Martin Foley Australian Labor Party Albert Park
Jane Garrett Australian Labor Party Brunswick
Judith Graley Australian Labor Party Narre Warren South
Danielle Green Australian Labor Party Yan Yean
Bronwyn Halfpenny Australian Labor Party Thomastown
Jill Hennessy Australian Labor Party Altona
Samuel Hibbins Victorian Greens Prahran
Geoffrey Howard Australian Labor Party Buninyong
Natalie Hutchins Australian Labor Party Sydenham
Emma Kealy The Nationals Lowan
Sonya Kilkenny Australian Labor Party Carrum
Sharon Knight Australian Labor Party Wendouree
Telmo Languiller Australian Labor Party Tarneit
Hong Lim Australian Labor Party Clarinda
Frank McGuire Australian Labor Party Broadmeadows
David Morris Liberal Party Mornington
Donato Nardella Australian Labor Party Melton
Lisa Neville Australian Labor Party Bellarine
Wade Noonan Australian Labor Party Williamstown
Martin Pakula Australian Labor Party Keysborough
Timothy Pallas Australian Labor Party Werribee
Brian Paynter Liberal Party Bass
Daniel Pearson Australian Labor Party Essendon
Jude Perera Australian Labor Party Cranbourne
Ellen Sandell Victorian Greens Melbourne
Robin Scott Australian Labor Party Preston
Suzanna Sheed Independent Shepparton
Rosalind Spence Australian Labor Party Yuroke
Nick Staikos Australian Labor Party Bentleigh
Louise Staley Liberal Party Ripon
Mary-Anne Thomas Australian Labor Party Macedon
Marsha Thomson Australian Labor Party Footscray
Vicki Ward Australian Labor Party Eltham
Gabrielle Williams Australian Labor Party Dandenong
Richard Wynne Australian Labor Party Richmond

Legislative Assembly - NO

MP Party MLA Electorate
Neil Angus Liberal Party Forest Hill
Bradley Battin Liberal Party Gembrook
Gary Blackwood Liberal Party Narracan
Elizabeth Blandthorn Australian Labor Party Pascoe Vale
Timothy Bull The Nationals Gippsland East
Neale Burgess Liberal Party Hastings
Anthony Carbines Australian Labor Party Ivanhoe
Robert Clark Liberal Party Box Hill
Peter Crisp The Nationals Mildura
Martin Dixon Liberal Party Nepean
John Eren Australian Labor Party Lara
Christine Fyffe Liberal Party Evelyn
Michael Gidley Liberal Party Mount Waverley
Matthew Guy Liberal Party Bulleen
David Hodgett Liberal Party Croydon
Marlene Kairouz Australian Labor Party Kororoit
Andrew Katos Liberal Party South Barwon
Timothy McCurdy The Nationals Ovens Valley
Lucinda McLeish Liberal Party Eildon
James Merlino Australian Labor Party Monbulk
Russell Northe The Nationals Morwell
Daniel O'Brien The Nationals Gippsland South
Michael O'Brien Liberal Party Malvern
John Pesutto Liberal Party Hawthorn
Timothy Richardson Australian Labor Party Mordialloc
Richard Riordan Liberal Party Polwarth
Deanne Ryall Liberal Party Ringwood
Stephanie Ryan The Nationals Euroa
Ryan Smith Liberal Party Warrandyte
Timothy Smith Liberal Party Kew
David Southwick Liberal Party Caulfield
Natalie Suleyman Australian Labor Party St Albans
Murray Thompson Liberal Party Sandringham
William Tilley Liberal Party Benambra
Heidi Victoria Liberal Party Bayswater
Nicholas Wakeling Liberal Party Ferntree Gully
Peter Walsh The Nationals Murray Plains
Graham Watt Liberal Party Burwood
Kim Wells Liberal Party Rowville

 

Legislative Council - YES

MP Party MLC District
Bruce Atkinson Liberal Party Eastern Metropolitan 
Philip Dalidakis Australian Labor Party Southern Metropolitan 
Samantha Dunn Victorian Greens Eastern Metropolitan 
Khalil Eideh Australian Labor Party Western Metropolitan 
Mark Gepp Australian Labor Party Northern Victoria Regon
Colleen Hartland Victorian Greens Western Metropolitan 
Gavin Jennings Australian Labor Party South-Eastern Metropolitan 
Shaun Leane Australian Labor Party Eastern Metropolitan 
Cesar Melham Australian Labor Party Western Metropolitan 
Jenny Mikakos Australian Labor Party Northern Metropolitan 
Edward O'Donohue Liberal Party Eastern Victoria 
Fiona Patten Australian Sex Party Northern Metropolitan 
Susan Pennicuik Victorian Greens Southern Metropolitan 
Jaala Pulford Australian Labor Party Western Victoria 
James Purcell Vote 1 Local Jobs Western Victoria 
Simon Ramsay Liberal Party Western Victoria 
Samantha Ratnam Victorian Greens Northern Metropolitan 
Harriet Shing Australian Labor Party Eastern Victoria 
Nina Springle Victorian Greens South-Eastern Metropolitan 
Jaclyn Symes Australian Labor Party Northern Victoria 
Gayle Tierney Australian Labor Party Western Victoria 
Mary-Anne Wooldridge Liberal Party Eastern Metropolitan 

 

Legislative Council - NO

MP Party MLC District
Melina Bath The Nationals Eastern Victoria 
Jeffrey Bourman Shooters &Fishers Party Eastern Victoria 
Rachel Carling-Jenkins Democratic Labour Party Western Metropolitan 
Georgina Crozier Liberal Party Southern Metropolitan 
Richard Dalla-Riva Liberal Party Eastern Metropolitan 
David Davis Liberal Party Southern Metropolitan 
Nazih Elasmar Australian Labor Party Northern Metropolitan 
Bernard Finn Liberal Party Western Metropolitan 
Margaret Fitzherbert Liberal Party Southern Metropolitan 
Wendy Lovell Liberal Party Northern Victoria 
Joshua Morris Liberal Party Western Victoria 
Daniel Mulino Australian Labor Party Eastern Victoria 
Craig Ondarchie Liberal Party Northern Metropolitan 
Luke O'Sullivan The Nationals Northern Victoria 
Inga Peulich Liberal Party South-Eastern Metropolitan 
Gordon Rich-Phillips Liberal Party South-Eastern Metropolitan 
Adem Somyurek Australian Labor Party South-Eastern Metropolitan 
Daniel Young Shooters & Fishers Party Northern Victoria 

Go Gentle welcomes action to end suffering

Go Gentle Australia has welcomed the WA State Government's positive steps to help end dying patients' suffering via a Bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying. 

ABC news: Voluntary euthanasia bill set to be introduced to WA Parliament in bid to legalise assisted dying

 

Go Gentle Australia founder and director, Andrew Denton, said the appointment of an expert panel to guide the development of the Bill, chaired by former Governor and eminent QC, Malcolm McCusker, was a sensible move to ensure a compassionate law with strong safeguards.

 

“The panel, which includes representatives from the Australian Medical Association, palliative and aged care and WA’s disability communities, brings together the necessary experience to write a law so keenly sought by a majority of Western Australians,” Mr Denton said.

 

“Yesterday’s announcement is in response to a comprehensive parliamentary inquiry into End-of-Life Choices. Like the Victorian inquiry before it, which led to a voluntary assisted dying law in that state, it cast light on the inadequacy of our current laws dealing with end-of-life. Repeated testimonies of people suffering needlessly as they die while their loved ones watch helplessly on have prompted the government to act.

 

“Go Gentle Australia fully supports the renewed focus this issue brings on palliative care and the resources needed in that area, however, it is clear that there are some circumstances where palliative care simply is not enough.

 

“Voluntary assisted dying is not about a philosophical ‘right to die’. It is about a legal right to ask for help if you are dying and suffering in a manner which can no longer be tolerably treated.

 

“If passed, it will be a law which will give people who are dying a choice about how hard their dying needs to be. A law which is about giving a dying person, and only them, the power to decide when they have suffered enough.

 

“It will be important to ensure that safeguards are built into the system to provide protections and support for everyone involved in the process, including patients, doctors and families.

 

“Go Gentle Australia looks forward to a respectful and evidence-based approach to the development of this Bill and commends the State Government for its actions to date.”

 

FACT FILE: Voluntary assisted dying is when a dying person voluntarily self-administers lethal medicine, legally prescribed, in order to end their suffering.

 

Euthanasia is when a doctor legally administers a lethal injection, at the dying person’s request, in order to end their suffering.

 

For more information on voluntary assisted dying, go to The Facts

 

 


Newsletter November 2018

News Update

As you know, last year Victoria was the first state to pass Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation, which was the result of a year long enquiry, followed by an Expert Ministerial Advisory Panel and more than 100 hours of parliamentary debate. 

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But now this landmark legislation is under threat.

Earlier this week Dying with Dignity Victoria launched its campaign No More Debate, ahead of the upcoming state elections on 24 November, to ensure MPs know you want to keep this law.

If you are in Victoria, You can help by emailing your MP and signing the petition
Check this link to find out how your MP voted.

This law has the support of more than 70% of Victorians. In October, a joint report [PDF] from the right wing IPA think tank and its left wing counterpart Per Capita ranked it as the most outstanding example of evidence-based policy making in Australia since 2016.

 

brian_owler-sq.jpgWe are a little sad to announce that Professor Brian Owler has stepped down from our board of directors, following his announcement he will contest the seat of Bennelong for the Australian Labor Party in next year's elections. We would like to thank him for his contributions and extraordinary commitment of dedicating many (unpaid!) hours to Go Gentle Australia. We wish him the very best!

 

The WA Government's response to the report of the Western Australian Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices is due later this month. Unnecessary suffering at end of life, and broad community agreement regarding individual autonomy, form the basis for the Committee’s recommendation that the Western Australian Government draft and introduce a Bill for Voluntary Assisted Dying. The Committee also recommended a Bill be drafted in consultation with a panel of experts. 

If you live in WA please contact your local MP today to strongly encourage the Government to put forward this legislation.

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Thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes

Kiki Paul
CEO

 


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ACHLR Oration on assisted dying and palliative care

Professor Luc Deliens recently joined the QUT (Queensland University of Technology) Faculty of Law's Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR) to deliver a public lecture on assisted dying and palliative care.

Professor Deliens explored the complex relationship between assisted dying and palliative care services within the context of legalised euthanasia in Belgium. In the international debate about assisted dying, it is often suggested that assisted dying is incompatible with palliative care. However, Professor Deliens shed light on 15 years of voluntary assisted dying in Belgium and concluded that in the context of legalised euthanasia, euthanasia and palliative care do not seem to be contradictory practices.

If you are a doctor and support Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation with strong safeguards, join us here: bit.ly/2xu5byP

 


Newsletter October 2018

Late September, the Victorian Government released the Voluntary Assisted Dying Regulations 2018 to support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. While the ACT speaks to the legislation of Voluntary Assisted Dying, the REGULATIONS set out how the legislation will operateThe regulations also include prescribed forms for voluntary assisted dying permits and permit applications, as well as for labelling statements for a voluntary assisted dying substance.

This is an important step as it makes the law that much harder to repeal, should the Labor government not be returned at the upcoming November elections. 

The Better Health Channel of the Victorian Government has now published its website for Voluntary Assisted Dying, which outlines the most frequently asked questions.

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Channel 9 program 60 Minutes interviewed Dr Alida Lancee, a GP from Perth, about her admission she had helped a suffering patient die. The story also features WA Dr Frank Kotai and Dr Rodney Syme. Her story was first published in The Damage Done, a collection of 72 testimonies that describe with horrifying clarity the damage being done across Australia in the absence of a law for voluntary assisted dying. Watch the story online.

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The WA Government is still considering its response to the report of the Western Australian Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices. Unnecessary suffering at end of life, and broad community agreement regarding individual autonomy, form the basis for the Committee’s recommendation that the Western Australian Government draft and introduce a Bill for Voluntary Assisted
Dying. The Committee also recommended a Bill be drafted in consultation with a panel of experts. 

If you live in WA please contact your local MP today to strongly encourage the Government to put forward this legislation.

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We received the heartbreaking story of Sian Briggs' father, whose violent death of cancer was far more terrible than anything she could have imagined. Read the story on our website.

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Personal testimonies are a powerful way to make legislators understand the need for such laws. If you live in Western Australia and have a story, we invite you to share it with us via our secure website. If you prefer to chat with someone, contact us via stories@gogentleaustralia.org.au and we will reach out. 

Thank you for your ongoing support.


Euthanasia advocate Andrew Denton urges WA doctors to back laws

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This story was first published in The West Australian on Tuesday 18 September. Photo: Simon Santi

Broadcaster Andrew Denton has urged WA doctors to stand up in support of proposed euthanasia laws.

In Perth to lobby for proposed laws, Denton said support from the medical community had been crucial in getting Victorian laws passed and he hoped to see the same in WA.

“A key voice in Victoria that helped politicians decide in favour of these laws were a number of principled doctors and nurses who stepped forward and said, ‘You know what, there are patients we can’t help and we would like a law to be able to help them’,” he said.

“Many doctors hesitate to do that because it’s a conservative profession, they’re conservative by nature.

“The opportunity to genuinely pass a law like this comes along very rarely.

“Western Australia is about to have that opportunity and there will be doctors reading this who know exactly why these laws should exist.

“I hope that they step forward, I hope that they make themselves heard to their local members because their voice is important.”

Denton is a high-profile euthanasia advocate through his directorship with Go Gentle and his podcast series, Better Off Dead.

He has spoken of the experience of watching his father Kit die as a motivation to dedicate his time advocating for euthanasia laws.

Last month, a landmark parliamentary report, which was the result of a yearlong parliamentary cross-party inquiry, recommended State Parliament approve laws for voluntary assisted dying for WA adults who experience suffering related to terminal, chronic or neurodegenerative conditions.

Denton said Go Gentle hoped to be a source of evidence-based research to counteract anti-euthanasia arguments, as it was when the Victoria Government was wrestling with the same issue.

He said he would be disappointed if the WA Government did not put forward legislation.

“My sense is that they’re going to be politically pragmatic,” Denton said.

He said he was frequently stopped in the street by people who wanted to share their stories. Denton said that while he had at times “emotionally struggled”, he also regarded it as “an honour” as well as an indication of how passionate many in the community felt about the issue.

“I was at a service station the other day and two truckies grabbed me and started telling me about what happened in their family,” he said. “The death of someone you love is a very intimate thing to share and it’s a very difficult thing to talk about, so if someone wishes to share those stories I have incredible respect because I know how hard it is to do.”

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If you are a doctor and support Voluntary assisted Dying legislation, we'd love to hear from you.

Share your story via our secure page or contact us and one of our team will reach out to you.


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