Over four days in early November, Dying With Dignity Canada hosted the World Federation of Right to Die Societies International Conference 2022 in Toronto, Canada. This biennial event, brought international delegates and local attendees together, providing an opportunity for networking, education and information sharing from across the globe. It was the must-attend event for clinicians, lawyers, advocates, and supporters who wanted to learn more about assisted dying in Canada and around the world.
A number of Australian VAD advocates attended the Conference including Jane Morris, Vice President of Dying with Dignity Victoria (DWDV), Anne Bunning, from Voluntary Assisted Dying South Australia (VADSA) and Secretary of the WFRtDS, Palliative Care Physician Dr Greg Mewett from Ballarat and Mike Gaffney MLC from Tasmania.
Reports from the Conference were extremely positive.
At the Awards and Farewell dinner held on the final day, Shayne Higson was chosen by the World Federation Right to Die Societies as the recipient of the 2022 Marilynne Seguin Award – an award given “For the person who has achieved much in her/his country for their national right-to-die movement”.
Shayne Higson has been a dedicated advocate and campaigner for assisted dying laws in Australia since 2013 and she received the award “In honour of her persistent contribution to the passage of VAD laws in six Australian jurisdictions in the space of five years.” Jane Morris from DWDV was thrilled to accept the award on Shayne’s behalf at the dinner.
Shayne Higson’s nomination was signed by the Penny Hackett, President of Dying With Dignity NSW because New South Wales was the primary focus of Shayne’s work, however, the leaders of the eight ‘Dying with Dignity’ organisations in Australia were unanimous in wholeheartedly supporting the nomination.
“There is no-one involved in the right to die movement in Australia who would not acknowledge Shayne Higson’s contribution as a key contributor to the passage of VAD laws in six Australian jurisdictions in the space of 5 years,” said DWDNSW President, Penny Hackett.
“She has dedicated all her time to this cause over the last decade and generously shared her energy, knowledge and considerable skills with the dying with dignity groups across the country.”
“Her dogged determination, persistence and unflinching optimism in the face of numerous disappointments and setbacks has been an inspiration to us all.”