43rd Annual General Meeting of Dying With Dignity Victoria (DWDV)

The guest speaker was the well-known broadcaster Andrew Denton who has founded a national advocacy organisation, Go Gently Australia.  In his campaign to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) he found most support from people with personal experience of the tormented death of a loved one.  Parliamentarians opposing VAD were given a copy of a book listing cases of horrific deaths.  He said those opposed to VAD cited religion, killing and the slippery slope as reasons.  Most of these people were ignorant of the safety measures in the proposed legislation.

The President’s report listed the significant achievement in Victoria.  Advanced Care directives were given statutory recognition by parliament.  The Inquiry into End of Life Choices found conclusive evidence that legalised assisted dying can be provided in ways that guard against abuse and gives protection to the vulnerable in ways that unlawful and unregulated assisted dying does not.  The government response is expected in December.

The World Federation of Right to Die Societies reported international momentum towards law reform, most recently in the largest USA state, California.

Halina Strnad

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