Voluntary Euthanasia Party seeking voters' support

Shayne Higson, lead candidate for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party.

Shayne Higson, lead candidate for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party.

In recent years, there has been growing dissatisfaction with the major political parties and increasing support for minor parties and independents.

One reason for this is the growing perception that politicians in the major parties are not listening to what the people want.

Supporters of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party are hoping that their lead candidate, Shayne Higson, will win a seat in the NSW Upper House and give political voice to the vast majority of voters who want law reform that would permit terminally or incurably ill people to ask for medical help to die.

A recent survey of Australians over 50, conducted by the Council on the Ageing (COTA), found 84 per cent supported voluntary assisted dying. COTA has called on governments to take action to reflect the community’s wishes.

In 2017, a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill failed to pass in the NSW Upper House by just one vote, and the joint party group led by the Nationals’ Trevor Khan that sponsored that bill will try again later this year.

They will be encouraged by the successful passage of voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria last year, and other positive developments.

The West Australian Government will introduce similar legislation this year. The WA Premier supports the principle, and a recent poll in WA showed that 86 per cent of people want assisted dying made legal in that state.

Parliamentary Inquiries into end-of-life choices are underway in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has changed its position on voluntary assisted dying from “opposed” to “neutral”.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Party in NSW is hopeful but realistic about its chances of success. They are encouraging voters to vote 1 for the VEP and then 2 for their next party of choice. This would send a strong message of support for assisted dying but still allow electors to support another party if the VEP does not win a seat.