In our last Bulletin we asked if anyone knew of anyone who had a 3-5 year life span who would be prepared to be a plaintiff for us to lodge a case with the ACT Supreme Court along the lines of the case lodged in Canada which has a Human Rights Act that was used to challenge the law in the Canadian Crimes Act which penalised anyone who gave assistance to die.
As the ACT has a Human Rights Act which includes the right to life, liberty and security of person as a human right (the right used in Canada to challenge the law) we can challenge the law in the Crimes Act that makes aiding and abetting a person to die a crime with a penalty of ten years. We have found a lawyer who is willing to run the case for us in Bernard Collaery and we would apply to the Clem Jones Group to fund the case. However we still do not have a person to be the plaintiff.
In my conversations with YourLastRight.com I have discovered that a person with either Motor Neurone Disease or Multiple Sclerosis who has expressed a wish to have an assisted death at a time of their choosing would be the most suitable person because they would be ill enough but not so ill that they would be faced with immediate death. Hopefully they would still be alive at the end of the legal process to enjoy their success and have the peaceful death they seek when they are ready.
So I appeal to you again to search for a suitable person. I believe we would have a positive effect on the lives of all Australians, not just Canberrans if we can find a suitable person. We could make the break though that Australia needs.
DWD ACT Inc. advertised in The Chronicle in April, May and June this year. We have 6 new memberships out of this investment which really only paid for one advertisement so we are looking at alternative and cheaper ways of advertising which we’ll introduce to you at the next General Meeting.
We have decided that we will hold our next General Meeting on the north side to see if that may attract north side members who have not attended meetings due to the fact that we have mostly held meetings on the south side in the past.
We have decided to ask for a gold coin donation for meetings to cover expenses such as afternoon teas and room hire where required. We hope that this will not be considered a burden. A small contribution by everyone will help us to cover these necessary expenses and balance the overall budget.
On the 17th June Jack White, Robert Altamore and I attended a meeting with Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Justice in the ACT government. It was a productive meeting as we spent the hour filling him in about our history, the composition of the organization, our contacts, our submissions to the Human Rights Commission and he concluded the meeting by asking what he could do for us. He offered to keep in mind our need for a plaintiff saying that he met a lot of people.
Recently I have made contact with a second lawyer in Adelaide, Stephen Kenny, who agrees with the argument we have made though our exploration of both the Human Rights Act and the ACT Crimes Act. I have asked him for more advice about how we can pursue this argument more fully.
The ACT ALP is holding a Fringe Conference at its next Conference on August 22. I have applied to have Death Discrimination as one of its topics. I hope we’ll have an opportunity to argue that the law needs to change and ask for Party support to begin a process of political change.
A reminder about future meetings for this year
Committee meetings: September 10, December 10 at 2.00 p.m.
Held in the Grant Cameron Community Centre 27, Mulley St Holder
General Meeting No. 2 will be on October 22 at 2.00 p.m.
It will be held at Majura Function Room, 2 North side Community Centre, Rosevear Place Dickson.