It is not well known to folks outside the VAD movement that many people of faith are and have been for many years, supporters of those wishing to die with dignity. We reprint below this message from Ian Wood, National Co-ordinator, Co-founder and Spokesperson, for Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying. As a voice for reason we acknowledge his commitment that dates back to well before 2009.
Dear NSW Member/Supporter of Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying,
As you would be aware by now, on May 19, 2022, New South Wales became the 6th and final state to pass a VAD Bill.
This is an emotional time for me, as I think back to my late friend and mentor, Rev Trevor Bensch, who co-founded our group with me early in 2009. Trevor was also a hospital chaplain, and some of what he had witnessed led him to support the VAD choice.
Rev Trevor Bensch in 2009.
I must thank every person who has written and spoken to MPs, those who have shared their stories of loved ones who endured needless suffering at the end of their lives, every Voluntary Assisted Dying Group in each state and territory, Andrew Denton and the team at Go Gentle Australia, Rev Dr Craig de Vos B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D., and so many others who have assisted me in our part in reaching this goal. Huge thanks go also to Alex Greenwich MP, all the co-sponsors of the NSW VAD Bill, Adam Searle MLC for his work in the Legislative Council, and every MP who spoke and voted to pass the Bill.
Of course the final step in VAD legislation throughout Australia is to have the Right of the Territories to enact VAD legislation restored. This was taken away in what is known as the ‘Andrews Bill’ by the Howard Government, after our Northern Territory under the guidance of Marshall Perron became the first jurisdiction in the world to pass a ‘Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995’ to give end of life choice. Given the result of the Federal Election, this now looks much more possible.
We do need to be aware that it will be 18 months before VAD actually becomes available in NSW, to allow for setting up all the facets of the Bill re access.
To those who have opposed this legislation – we do remind you that the key word is voluntary and there is no compulsion for you to use the law in any way. We all support more funding for palliative care, and better access to palliative care in remote and country areas, but also know that the Voluntary Assisted Dying choice is needed in addition to the best possible PC.
History has been made and the wishes of a huge majority of the community have been respected. See also our News item:
I do hope that you will remain with our group while we become pro-active on behalf of the Territories as soon as the Federal Election result is finalised.
Best wishes, Ian
Our Belief: “We believe that as a demonstration of love and compassion, those with a terminal or hopeless illness should have the option of a pain-free, peaceful and dignified death with legal voluntary assisted dying.”
National Co-ordinator, Co-founder and Spokesperson
Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying