Who we are

DWD NSW Board 2018-19

Penny Hackett
President from 17 March 2018

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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 a funds management and corporate finance business 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. Penny devoted much of 2017 to the campaign in support of the NSW VAD Bill.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW
Board Member from 27 February 2017
President from 17 March 2018

Shayne Higson 
Vice-President from 27 May 2017

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Shayne Higson is a photographic artist who usually expresses her opinions through her visual art. However, following the death of her mother from brain cancer in 2012, she became a passionate and vocal supporter of dying with dignity law reform. In the 2013 Federal election 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 NSW Election. Shayne ran for the Senate again in the 2016 Federal election.

Shayne joined Andrew Denton’s lobbying organisation Go Gentle Australia to help with the 2016 South Australian campaign. In 2017 Shayne left Go Gentle Australia to focus all her energy on our campaign in support of the NSW VAD Bill.

Life Member of Dying with Dignity NSW.
Board Member from 3 August 2016.
Vice-President from 27 May 2017.

Philip Busfield 
Treasurer from 5 April 2014

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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, and continues to provide management consultancy.

Most recently Philip has chaired a charity for Parkinson’s sufferers, been actively involved in local community regeneration projects, and is the Co-Chair of Sydney-based charity Twenty10, which supports young people, communities and families of diverse genders and sexualities.

Treasurer from 5 April 2014

Judith Daley 
Board Member from 12 February 2015

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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

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

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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. Liz devoted much of 2017 to the campaign in support of the NSW VAD Bill.

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

Fiona Jackson 
Board Member from 21 September 2015

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Fiona Jackson BA Comm., Adv Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy is an experienced fundraiser and marketer who has worked in both London and Sydney with clients including Alzheimer’s Research UK, ActionAid, World Vision, Barnardos, Cure Brain Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy UK and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Fiona is the Head of Marketing at CareFlight.

Fiona is passionate about having choice at end of life and is committed to law reform to achieve this goal.

Board Member from 21 September 2015

Dee (Deirdre) Johnson
Board Member from 5 April 2014

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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 has provided her financial management skills as a volunteer for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party and Go Gentle Australia.

Dee is a passionate supporter of end of life choices and a firm believer in an individual’s right to choose their own destiny.

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.

Reverend Geoffrey Usher
Board Member from 20 April 2013

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Reverend Geoffrey Usher is a retired Unitarian minister, a former teacher and professional actor. Geoff served on the Committee of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NSW for several years during the 1980s before his work took him to England.

Geoff returned to live in Sydney in early 2011 and is an Associate Minister of the Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship and a committee member of the NSW Dickens Society.

Board Member from 20 April 2013

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Our Staff

Gabrielle Brown
Executive Officer from 2010 (part time)

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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

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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.

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