Who we are

DWD NSW Board 2017 – 2018

SONY DSC

Dr Sarah Edelman
President from 5 April 2014

Read more

Dr Sarah Edelman B Ec., Dip.Ed, MA (Psych), PhD is a clinical psychologist, author and trainer. Sarah’s PhD was in psycho-oncology, and she became a passionate supporter of end of life choices whilst running therapy groups for women with advanced breast cancer.

In addition to clinical work, Sarah runs mental health training programs for psychologists, GPs and business organisations. Sarah also teaches at Sydney University Centre for Continuing Education. Her book ‘Change your Thinking” (ABC Books) is a best seller in the self-help genre and she is a regular guest on ABC radio.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW
Committee Member from 13 April 2008
Vice-President 2009 to 2014
President from 5 April 2014

SONY DSC

Shayne Higson 
Vice-President from 27 May 2017

Read more

Shayne Higson is a photographic artist who usually expresses her opinions through her visual art. However, following the death of her mother from an aggressive brain cancer in late 2012, she became a passionate and vocal supporter of dying with dignity law reform. In 2013, Shayne ran as the lead NSW Senate candidate for the newly formed Voluntary Euthanasia Party (VEP). She was the driving force behind the formation of the NSW branch of the VEP in 2014 and ran as their lead candidate in the 2015 State Election.

Following her third election campaign in July 2016, she stepped down from the VEP in order to join Andrew Denton’s newly formed national lobbying organisation, Go Gentle Australia. Shayne worked with Go Gentle Australia until May 2017, when she was nominated to the position of Vice-President of DWD NSW and she began to focus all her energy on the NSW campaign.

Board Member from 3 August 2016.
Vice-President from 27 May 2017.

SONY DSC

Philip Busfield 
Treasurer from 5 April 2014

Read more

Philip Busfield M.A. (Hons) Cambridge University (Mathematics) is a Risk and Finance consultant to the Private Equity and Banking industry. He has three decades of experience in various senior executive roles in merchant banking and investment.

Philip was the Treasurer of Dying in Dignity UK for a three year term ending May 2014. Philip is the Co-Chair of Twenty10, which supports young people, communities and families of diverse genders and sexualities. He has chaired a charity for Parkinson’s sufferers and been actively involved in local community regeneration projects, together with his ongoing consulting work.

Treasurer from 5 April 2014

SONY DSC

Judith Daley 
Board Member from 12 February 2015

Read more

Judith Daley MBus (Industrial Relations) is a supporter of voluntary assisted death because she believes it is a fundamental human right. In addition, her late partner had a rare heart condition so she was forced to focus on his possible imminent death on many, many occasions. He was not worried about the destination, but he was extremely apprehensive about the manner of getting there. This personal experience made her very aware of the need for legislative change to provide choice.

Judith herself has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and so has the same concerns about the nature of her own death.Judith has worked with the Older Womens Network, the Retirement Village Residents Association and the Aged Care Alliance for NCOSS. Apart from her volunteering, Judith does ad-hoc acting work in theatre and advertising.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW
Board Member from 12 February 2015

SONY DSC

Penny Hackett
Board Member from 27 February 2017

Read more

Penny Hackett BEc LLB (Hons), GAIDC has worked as a lawyer in the financial services and banking industries for over 25 years and is presently legal advisor to  two funds management and corporate finance businesses with a focus on corporate governance and compliance. Penny has professional qualifications in governance and is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Penny has been heavily involved in the not for profit sector over the last 10 years  particularly the areas of public education funding and  student capacity in NSW public schools and is also involved in a peak body for resident’s  groups lobbying local, state and federal government on a range of issues affecting her local community.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW
Board Member from 27 February 2017

SONY DSC

Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Jacka
Board Member from 5 April 2014

Read more

Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Jacka BA (Auck), BSc (Auck), PhD (Syd) is a retired Professor of Communications (UTS Sydney) where she is currently an Emeritus Professor. For most of her working life she was an academic, initially in the field of Philosophy and later in Media and Communications. She also has several years of experience working in media policy and regulation for the Commonwealth Public Service. In 2013 Liz provided research support and advice to Cate Faehrmann MLC when she presented the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill in the NSW Upper House.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW
Board Member from 5 April 2014

SONY DSC

Fiona Jackson 
Board Member from 21 September 2015

Read more

Fiona Jackson BA Comm., Adv Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy is an experienced fundraiser and marketer who has worked in London and Sydney with a number of clients including Alzheimer’s Research UK, ActionAid, World Vision, Barnardos, Cure Brain Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy UK and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. She is passionate about having choice at end of life and is committed to law reform to achieve this.

Board Member from 21 September 2015

SONY DSC

Dee (Deirdre) Johnson
Board Member from 5 April 2014

Read more

Dee (Deirdre) Johnson-B App Sc (Computing) has had extensive experience in general management and organisational process. She was a founding Director and shareholder of a group of companies supplying information technology solutions and services to the professional accounting market. Dee is a passionate supporter of end of life choices and a firm believer in an individual’s right to choose their own destiny. Dee provided honorary bookkeeping services to the Voluntary Euthanasia Party NSW and now does this for Go Gentle Australia.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW.
Company Secretary since 13 August 2013.
Vice-President from 5 April 2014 to 27 May 2017 .
Board Member from 5 April 2014.

SONY DSC

Reverand Geoffrey Usher
Board Member from 20 April 2013

Read more

Reverand Geoffrey Usher, a retired Unitarian Minister and former teacher. He served on the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NSW Committee for several years during the 1980s before his work took him to England. Geoffrey returned to live with his family in Sydney in early 2011. He is a member of the Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship at Kirribilli. Amongst other voluntary work, Geoffrey is the Secretary of the NSW Executive Committee of the United Nations Association of Australia.

Board Member from 20 April 2013

Our Staff

SONY DSC

Gabrielle Brown
Office Administrator since 2010 (part time)

Read more

Gabrielle Brown B Comm (Accounting), Grad Cert (Marketing), Certified Practising Accountant, had a career as a Managment Accountant before becoming the full-time carer of her two children and her dying mother. Gabrielle’s mother experienced constant suffering (pain and nausea) during her final months and weeks of life. She regularly begged Gabrielle to help her to die. This heart-breaking experience has left Gabrielle feeling passionate about the need for those who are suffering needlessly, with no chance of recovery, to have the choice of an assisted death.

Our Patron

Professor Peter Baume AC

Read more

The Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC MB BS MD HonLittD (USQ) HonDUniv (ANU) FRACP FAFPHM FRACGP (Hon) has had a career in medicine, politics and academia.

He was in private practice as a gastroenterologist and physician from 1967–74.

From 1974 to 1991 he served as a Senator for NSW.

On leaving politics, Peter became Professor of Community Medicine at the University of NSW until 2000. He has since held an honorary research position with the Social Policy Research Centre (2001–2005) also at the University of NSW, pursuing his research interests in voluntary euthanasia, drug policy and evaluation.

Click for the ‘What we do’ webpage.