From the President
I am sure that everyone will, like me, be moaning about how fast this year is passing, a quarter of it already. For Dying with Dignity ACT Inc. it has been passing as rapidly, with many problems requiring solutions as we begin a new phase of our existence. At the beginning of the year we were confronted by a credit union that had not changed our name despite repeated requests and we wanted it to accept money from members including committee members. Fortunately after a few frustrating weeks that was sorted out.
The other issue that all groups have to face when they become formally incorporated is how to present themselves. We now have a website www.dwdact.org.au that is up and running which we invite you all to look at and read the many interesting articles as well as view the Terry Pratchett documentary about his visit to Switzerland. One feature of the website that still needs attention is the ambassadors who should scroll through. That program comes via DWDV which is currently reconstructing its website. Once that happens we should see the ambassadors’ smiling faces again.
In addition to the website we now have brochures, business cards, membership cards and letterhead with our logo and starry night design. I’ve been told it looks optimistic and that’s what I wanted. I personally have come to the conclusion that we have been totally brainwashed into fearing death rather than seeing it as something we can look forward to when it happens. It is also something we should be in charge of, not politicians. This is a theme I have been pursuing in letters to The Attorney General, Simon Corbell, The ACT Minister for Ageing, Shane Rattenbury MLA and Dr Helen Watchirs, ACT Human Rights Commissioner.
I have also had a number of conversations with Mary Porter MLA. Mary is very interested in end of life law reform. She expects to do a European study tour this year and to investigate those countries which have made law reforms which are clearly working.
The consultation on law reform which is occurring in Tasmania gives us the most cause for hope that somewhere in Australia we will break the political deadlock on this issue. There are a number of bills in South Australia already before the Houses of Parliament but South Australians have been trying without success to get a bill through parliament without success since the nineties. They are very close but still not over the line. We can only admire their stamina and determination.
Our next General Meeting will be on Thursday April 18th at 2.00 p.m. at The Weston Club, Liardet St Weston. We have a DVD and discussion session planned on managing dying. I hope to see you all there.
From the Treasurer
Hiccup for fund transfers
Our separation from Dying With Dignity NSW to incorporate as Dying With Dignity ACT produced a hiccup with our credit union Community CPS. We needed to change our name from Voluntary Euthanasia Society ACT to our new name. Then when members made transfers to credit union, we discovered the practice was to check transfers for correct BSB, account number, and account name. Members may have put a variety of descriptions of the account name with the result the credit union blocked the transfers and members found the funds returned to their accounts. Many credit unions and banks only check the BSB and the account number. A quick chat with the credit union resolved it by accepting the account name as either DWDACT or Dying With Dignity. We emailed those members involved and received the subsequent transfers. We apologise for the confusion and inconvenience.
The earlier ACT branch had virtually no funds and it did not need them as the NSW association handled most things. Now we receive membership dues and donations. To cope, while minimizing costs, we opted to use an open source (free) accounting package called Gnu Cash. Gnu is an African antelope, also known as Wildebeest in Afrikaans, but I don’t why that name was chosen. The accounting software is proving to be easy to use and satisfactory in that it provides financial reports to the satisfaction of the management committee.
Newly incorporated organisations under the ACT Registrar of Associations, need to consider covering themselves against some risks. Our organisation needs Public Liability insurance to have a promotional stall at any event.
We are seeking quotes for insurance cover of three necessary areas. They are
● Public Liability
● Association and officials
You can’t attend an event as Dying With Dignity ACT Inc. without Public Liability insurance. Disaffected persons can lay claims against the organisation or individual committee members. We need insurance cover even if the risk is low. Otherwise, people may not be prepared to serve as members of the committee. At present, the only volunteers we have are the committee members. However, if they should injure themselves while serving the organisation, we need insurance cover.
It is all part of good governance.
From the Communications Officer
We now have a Facebook page – if you are on Facebook please friend us and encourage your friends to – it will ensure that we can be searched for efficiently and effectively.
I have asked for us to have a short profile in the next Citizens Advice Bureau Magazine.
We have a stall booked at the Seniors Expo at Exhibition Park on 21 March, please come and see us.
From the Membership Secretary
Many thanks to all those members who have made the transfer from NSW to us and welcome to new members. Please find your membership card enclosed.