When: 3-4:30pm Sunday 26 May 2013
Where: Italian Forum Cultural Centre, 21–23 Norton St Leichhardt
All welcome, please RSVP: 9660 7586
The NSW Upper House is currently debating a Bill that would ensure that terminally ill people, under certain circumstances, have the right to die a dignified death at a time and place of their own choosing.
Greens MP Jamie Parker is hosting a free local forum on the proposed legislation and inviting local residents to come along to learn more.
“If we want to be a caring society, we need to do something about the fact that our current laws allow some people to suffer terribly at the end of their lives.
“Terminally ill adults who are suffering intolerably should have the right to an assisted death if that is their wish – this is about personal choice.
“I’m convening this local forum to give residents the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about this important issue.
“I’m committed to working within the NSW Parliament to ensure this much-needed reform becomes law,” Mr Parker said.
Mr Parker will be jointly sponsoring the Bill in the Lower House along with Independent MPs Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper.
Briefing Notes on the Bill:
To receive assistance, patients must meet strict criteria. The patient would need to:
- be at least 18 years old;
- be suffering from a terminal illness that is causing severe pain or distress unacceptable to the patient;
- be fully mentally capable and able to make informed decisions;
- be a resident of NSW;
- have been fully informed of the diagnosis and prognosis of their disease and other options, including palliative care.
The process would involve a number of stringent safeguards including:
- The patient would have to be examined by two medical practitioners who would certify that the patient met the eligibility criteria.
- A psychiatrist would have to certify the patient was able to make an informed decision, and was not under any duress to make the request for assisted dying. A qualified social worker may also be consulted during this assessment.
- It would be a requirement that none of the health professionals involved (or their close associates) stood to receive any financial benefit from the patient’s death.
- There would be severe criminal penalties for coercion of the patient or any of the doctors by another party.
- The patient can change their mind at any stage of the process.
- No health professionals would be compelled to participate in an assisted dying process.
- A review process would be established to oversee the process and to ensure compliance. This body will provide an annual report to parliament.
- The drugs used in the assisted dying process will be subject to strict storage and supply rules.
The Terminally Ill
- Suicide rates are high amongst the terminally ill. Methods can be prolonged and undignified leading to unnecessary suffering. The current laws lack compassion and mercy.
- Legislation for voluntary euthanasia has overwhelming public support. A 2011 Newspoll puts this at 83 per cent in New South Wales, with only 10 per cent implacably opposed.
- Voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill is legal and operating successfully in other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and in the states of Oregon, Washington and Montana in the United States.
Media contact: Alison Martin 0432 941 533
May 17, 2013 at 12pm