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Lobby Your Candidates for the 2016 Federal Election

2016 electionAustralia went to the polls on July 2 in a double dissolution election for all 150 House of Representatives seats and 76 Senate places.

Many of our supporters contacted their local candidates, especially those in marginal and key electorates, where candidates were hoped to be more responsive. Our members were asked to do the following: Please write to, or speak with, all the candidates in your federal electorate and to all the candidates for the 12 NSW Senate seats. Ask for their stance on voluntary assisted dying and specifically their response to the question “If a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying (including carefully considered safeguards) is brought before the next Federal Parliament, would you, in principle be inclined to support it?”

NB: some specific suggestions about how to write your letter have been provided at the bottom of this page.

The responses received from candidates were recorded and published prior to the federal election

Click to download position on VAD and contact details for all NSW 2016 Senate Candidates by ticket position – see attached
Click to download position on VAD and contact details for ALL NSW 2016 House of Representatives Candidates by Electorate – see attached

Click for more detail …


Leyonhjelm’s Bill to Restore Territories Rights

Senator Leyonhjelm has introduced the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill to the Senate and it is expected to be debated during the first half of 2016.

To maximise its likely success, we are launching a campaign to put pressure on NSW Senators to pass Leyonhjelm’s bill. Dying with Dignity NSW supports this bill out of respect for the democratic rights of the people living and dying in the Australian Territories (the largest being in The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).

Please write to the NSW Senators, urging them to vote in favour of the bill.

You can find some of the key arguments to put forward, as well as email and postal addresses of the 10 NSW Senators below.

Click for more detail …


Andrew Denton Shares Results of his Major Research Project

Andrew Denton is a writer and broadcaster who lives in Sydney, Australia. Early in 2015, spurred in part by having seen his father die badly, Denton set out to answer a question: what’s stopping a law for assisted dying in Australia? To do that, he has spent many months travelling to countries where laws to help people die already exist and he spent hundreds of hours talking with nurses, doctors, politicians, lawyers, academics, priests, surgeons, palliative care specialists and activists on both sides of the debate, both here and overseas.

Click for more detail …


Di Natale’s Bill to Legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying

In 2014, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale initiated the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Exposure Draft Bill 2014. This involved presenting a draft bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying, and inviting members of the public to provide comments and feedback via submissions to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

The response to the Exposure Draft was overwhelming, with hundreds of submissions being received.  Many of these submissions came from members of Dying with Dignity NSW, as well as DWD organisations and their members all around Australia. (Submissions are now closed.) Public hearings were held in October 2014, and a report has now been tabled.

As a result of feedback via the consultation process, the Exposure Draft is currently in the process of being modified, and a final Bill will be ready to present to the Federal Senate in the coming months. The timing of the Bill’s presentation before the Senate is unknown, although likely to occur during the next term of Government, possibly in early 2017.

Once the campaign heats up, we will be advising all our members on how they can assist. (Most important will be contacting Federal MPs to encouraging them to vote in favour of the Bill when it is presented in the Senate, but there will be other things you can do as well.) We expect that the campaign will commence during 2016.


End Of Life Inquiry by Victorian Upper House Standing Committee

In May 2015, the Victorian Legislative Council resolved that the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee will conduct an inquiry into issues relating to end of life. The committee is looking into three key areas:

  • How current medical practices and palliative care can assist a person manage their end of life
  • How this issue is managed in other Australian and international jurisdictions
  • Potential changes to our legislative framework.

The Legal and Social Issues Committee has received over 900 written submissions to its Inquiry into End of Life Choices. Many individuals and organisations from all over Australia (including Dying with Dignity NSWDying with Dignity NSW Central Coast group and many individual members of DWDnsw) have made submissions to the inquiry.

The Inquiry has provided a good opportunity to highlight some of the problems associated with the illegality of voluntary assisted dying, and to suggest positive changes that could be made to existing legislation. Submissions to the Inquiry have now closed. The Committee is due to report back to the Victorian Parliament by the end of May, 2016.


Stance on Voluntary Assisted Dying by the NSW Parliament

Thanks to many of our supporters for helping us to collect the views of the majority of the candidates for the 2015 NSW election. The post-election NSW Legislative Assembly looks quite different, with 33 new sitting MPs.

DWDnsw wants to keep the need for Legislative change on voluntary assisted dying foremost in the minds of all our Parliamentarians. You can help us to achieve this by continuing to write to your Lower House member and let them know how you feel about this issue. If you have a personal story, consider including this. Even if your MP claims to be a supporter, reading a letter from a constituent will reinforce the importance of their continued support for our campaign.

Some of the MPs, especially the new ones, have not yet provided us with their stance on voluntary assisted dying (and specifically their response to the question: Should a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying (including carefully considered safeguards) be brought before the next State Parliament, would you, in principle be inclined to support it?). If your electorate is represented by one of these non-responders, please write and ask them for their opinion and tell them how you feel about this issue.

If you obtain a written response from your MP please pass it on to us via email at [email protected] or post it to DWD NSW Po Box 25, Broadway NSW 2007. This will enable us to keep the Pollies Register up-to-date with the latest responses.

Click here to see how your local member would vote on the issue of voluntary assisted dying.

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