A petition signed by over 100,000 people calling on Members of NSW Parliament to work collaboratively on voluntary assisted dying legislation was presented to Alex Greenwich MP and some of the record number of co-sponsors outside Parliament on Tuesday 12 October 2021.
Scott Riddle, a 39 year old father from Sydney diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, started the petition in 2020 and he was there to deliver the signed, hardcopies of petition to the group of supportive MPs.
Scott Riddle said “The response to the petition has been overwhelming and shows that clearly the people of NSW want to see their representatives working together to make this happen.
“Terminally ill people in every other Australian state now have the option to die with dignity. Why should people in NSW be denied that right?” Mr Riddle asked.
President of Dying with Dignity NSW Penny Hackett said “There are people in NSW who are suffering right now, nearing the end of their life, who desperately need and deserve the option to die with dignity.”
“No one should be forced to suffer a cruel death with prolonged and unbearable suffering,” Ms Hackett said.
Vice President of Dying with Dignity NSW, Shayne Higson, has been campaigning for this law reform for nine years following the traumatic death of her mother from an aggressive brain cancer in 2012.
“It has taken decades of lobbying to reach this point and I am so thrilled to see Members of NSW Parliament from across the political spectrum listening to the people of NSW and working together to hopefully achieve this much-needed, compassionate law,”
Voluntary assisted dying law reform will allow terminally ill people to access a peaceful death surrounded by their loved ones, without extreme suffering.”
“We’re very encouraged by the support we’ve received so far from Members of Parliament and look forward to working with them as the Bill is introduced,” Ms Higson said.
Community campaign organiser, Heath Reed said it was a challenge activating a grassroots campaign during the pandemic but he is pleased that the target of 100,000 signatures was reached.
“Before the recent lockdown, Dying with Dignity held over 50 community stalls across NSW with the support of volunteers, many of whom have tragic personal stories that motivated them to get involved.”
“We could not have achieved our target without our wonderful volunteers who manned their stalls, come rain or shine, gathering signatures and talking with interested locals about the proposed law reform,” Mr Reed said.