Euthanasia bill push gains momentum

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Kate Thomas signing the petition
Camera IconKate Thomas signing the petition

Notable Albany right-to-die supporters gathered at Due South to sign Belinda Teh’s euthanasia Bill petition, which will be presented to State Parliament next month.

Among them was Albany resident Rupert Ward, who was charged with importing an illegal euthanasia drug in 2014.

Mr Ward was the first person in Australia to be prosecuted for importing Nembutal, after pleading guilty to the charge and admitting he had hidden the drug in bushland.

At the time, he said he obtained the substance in case he was to suffer a “long, drawn-out illness”.

Belinda Teh and Rupert Ward.
Camera IconBelinda Teh and Rupert Ward.

At Due South on Friday, Mr Ward said he was pleased to see all the great work Ms Teh had done in pushing for voluntary-assisted dying laws.

Albany Death Cafe co-founder Kate Thomas, who also signed the petition, said she was glad Ms Teh’s brave efforts had received the attention they deserved.

“She nursed her dying mum and witnessed her suffering firsthand,” she said. “She feels strongly enough that if she can do this and bring some more publicity and attention to it, then it might make the difference in the place that she visited.”

Ms Thomas, who has worked in palliative care for four decades, said she believed it was important for everyone to have the right to access voluntary-assisted dying services.

“I do appreciate that we have excellent palliative care here in Australia,” she said. “However, there is a small percentage of people who still have extreme suffering and I think we need to offer them the option and the choice. If all else fails, they should have the choice to die with dignity.”

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