Bundaberg to host public hearing into euthanasia
LIFE is made up of choices and for people like Phyllis Wagner, Mark Herron and Moya Jackson, they are fighting for a choice of when to die through voluntary assisted euthanasia.
What draws these three people together, like many others who attend local Dying with Dignity meetings, is having witnessed the suffering of a loved one first-hand and wanting to give people a choice of when that pain ends.
Earlier this year written submissions were accepted to the Inquiry into Aged Care, End-of-Life and Palliative Care and Voluntary Assisted Dying and next month there will be a public hearing in Bundaberg.
Mr Herron and Ms Jackson said they were pleased to see that Victorians legalised assisted dying and hoped to see the same done in Queensland.
Excited to see Bundaberg getting the opportunity to be heard, Mr Herron and Ms Jackson said 99 per cent of the people they had spoken to about voluntary assisted euthanasia had been on board with their message.
"We're all dying - it's just a matter of how and when,” Ms Jackson said.
They said passing voluntary assisted euthanasia did "not result in more deaths, just less people suffering” as those who required it were already dying.
Ms Jackson said the peace of mind the option could give someone was reason enough, so they might have an idea of how life might look in the end.
For Ms Jackson, she wanted to see the legislation passed before the next election, due to fears the matter would become a political football.
"My concern is getting the legislations through and then keeping the legislation and then reviewing it,” she said.
One of the leading DWD advocates in the region, Ms Wagner said people in the region were in favour of the push for change and those who weren't "that's fine”.
"The Bundaberg region has a great population consisting of so many intelligent, professional, passionate people that I personally feel that it would be a bit of an insult not to include our area in the Queensland Inquiry into Voluntary Assisted Dying, which is of one the three areas that this inquiry is looking into,” she said.
"The other two also important areas are palliative care and aged care.
"The people of this area have written letters to their state MPs stating that when this bill gets on the floor for a vote, we want Bennett and Batt to vote in favour of the bill as the majority of their constituents want.
"It will be worded in such a way that it would be in favour of the citizens so that can't be an excuse.”
She said there were people coming to the meetings, eager to learn about the bill.
"They have told us their heartbreaking stories,” Ms Wagner said.
"Many have cried, all have become angered. Angered because no one should have to go through what their loved ones were forced to through due to our government laws.”
Ms Wagner said she was proud of the people in this area.
"They are strong,” she said.
"They are interested in doing what is right. I am so glad that this inquiry is holding one of its meetings here.”
Ms Jackson and Mr Herron encouraged people from all over the region to attend the public hearing and for those who could to share their story.
There will be an information session held by Dying with Dignity on July 5 at Take the Plunge Cafe, 7 Quinn St, from 10.30-11.30am.