This is the first year since 1997 that we have been able to say that we have had some genuine success in reforming the law to give assistance to die.
In my last Bulletin I was optimistic that we might have a legal breakthrough via The Australian constitution which states that the Commonwealth may not make law imposing religious observances.
Today I received some good news from Kirsty Easdale who has been liaising between barristers Greg Barns and John B. Lawrence SC on behalf of DWDACT:
I heard from Greg Barnes today. Both barristers are willing to accept the brief. I will be able to prepare a brief early next week. I will send through some draft observations for your review prior to them being sent to the barristers.
It is now ten years since I joined what was then called the ACT branch of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NSW. I joined at a crisis point for the organization because there was a strong possibility that it would fold. It was revived with a new committee. I am the only person still on the committee from that time. We have had a continuous turnover of people primarily due to health problems. One implication of this is that it is very easy for governments to ignore us because we are old, we are sick, we have sick relatives we look after and we don’t have consistent energy to argue our case
The committee has been preparing for the election on 15 October and for the next General meeting.
Recently two significant events have occurred in the push to reform the law about how we die. Canada has finally passed a law that implements to a restricted degree the nine person judgement by the Canadian Supreme Court that dying Canadians human rights were infringed by the Crimes Act law that makes the act of assisting people to die a crime. At the World Federation Right to Die Conference in Amsterdam many of the Canadians who attended the conference were unhappy with the restrictions proposed by the law and wished that Canada had just followed the legal judgement by developing regulations for doctors. Nevertheless however limited it is dying Canadians are able to access the law to get assistance to die.