Newcastle supporters launch campaign blitz for voluntary assisted dying laws

Newcastle supporters launch campaign blitz for voluntary assisted dying laws

DWD supporters held an on-the-ground campaign blitz across Newcastle on Saturday 30 January 2021 to show MPs just how much community support there is for voluntary assisted dying laws.

The Newcastle campaign blitz, organised by local community champions, comes as Alex Greenwich MP drafts a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to introduce into NSW Parliament later this year.

Dying with Dignity’s campaign ‘champions’ hosted six stalls across the area at shopping centres at Mount Hutton, Charlestown, Newcastle West, Wallsend, Morisset and East Maitland. The main aim was to encourage local residents to sign the Dying with Dignity petition which calls on members of Parliament to start working together on the Bill. The volunteers gathered over 2,000 extra signatures on hardcopy petition across the six stalls with many more using the link in a front page story in the Newcastle Herald or the QR code at the stalls.

Abbey Egan (centre) with DWD volunteers at the Stocklands Greenhills Shopping Centre

Newcastle local, Abbey Egan, who was one of the key organisers of the blitz, featured in the front page story in the Newcastle Herald on Saturday. 

Abbey lost her partner Jayde to a prolonged and unnecessarily traumatic death from cervical cancer in 2018 and is now heading the grassroots campaign in her hometown of Newcastle and nearby electorates.

“I want to make sure that part of Jayde’s legacy is that other people won’t have to suffer horrendously at the end of their life like Jayde did.

Local Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery (centre), spent time with the volunteers at Wallsend Shopping Centre.

Dying with Dignity NSW President, Penny Hackett said “Newcastle is an area where we are already seeing incredible momentum in support of voluntary assisted dying laws.

“There are more than 3,500 campaign supporters across Newcastle already, and that figure is rapidly growing.

“The only thing Jayde wanted at the end of her life was the right to a peaceful, dignified death surrounded by her loved ones, and because we don’t have the laws in place in NSW, she was denied that.

Local Member for Newcastle, Tim Crankanthorpe, with stall captain, James Hart

“It’s time to get this done once and for all – we’re asking members of NSW Parliament to start working collaboratively on this Bill so that it can pass. This is not about choosing life or death, it’s about choosing between a good death or a bad one.”

Local Member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison

“This issue is not going away, and the longer it takes for voluntary assisted dying law reform to take place in NSW – the more people will be forced to suffer bad deaths or take matters into their own hands, creating unnecessary trauma for all involved,”

“The community overwhelmingly want voluntary assisted dying laws in place in NSW. Laws are in place in Victoria, about to come into effect in Western Australia, and are on their way in Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia. The question is – why not NSW?”

The Dying with Dignity NSW petition, launched in December 2020, has over 15,000 signatures. The petition can be found here: dwdnsw.org.au/petition

 

Volunteers at the Mount Hutton Shopping Centre stall

Volunteers at the Charlestown Square Shopping Centre stall

Volunteers at the Market Town Shopping Centre