MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (09:40:32):
Yesterday voluntary assisted dying became law. It was an incredible privilege to be a member of the committee that undertook the end-of-life choices inquiry, and I would like to thank all the people who made that possible—the families who told us sometimes harrowing stories about loved ones at the end of their lives but also many of their happy moments.
We heard about good deaths and bad ones, and what we found was that the community wanted this to happen, and now it has.
Thank you to the nurses and doctors who did whatever they could to ease their patients’ pain; to the police and the Coroners Court, who shared their information and experiences on how they compassionately dealt with terminally ill people who had died alone and in pain; to everyone in this chamber and the other place on both sides of the debate, who spoke so beautifully, thoughtfully and personally about their own experiences and to all the many people who bore witness to the long, long parliamentary debate; and to Peter Short, who I made a promise to in the lead-up to the 2014 election and who died in December of that year from oesophageal cancer at age 57.
Overseas experience tells us voluntary assisted dying will improve conversations about end-of-life choices and access to palliative care.
I only hope that all health and palliative care providers honour their patients’ and clients’ wishes. Voluntary assisted dying laws provide another tool in the end-of-life care toolbox. It will be used very rarely, but its existence will comfort many.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Members Statement 20/6/19