Derryn Hinch has been a long-term vocal advocate for dying with dignity (also known as Voluntary Assisted Dying or VAD in Victoria) and was influential in shifting the attitudes of Victorians which led to the first laws of their kind in Australia in 2017.
Derryn watched his own mother die from cancer.
‘She looked like a Biafran. She weighed about 30 kilos. I sat through her last night with her and thought of ending her suffering with a pillow. If she had been a dog, and an RSPCA inspector had walked in and seen her like that, I would have faced a cruelty to animals charge’.
One of the first things Derryn did, after being sworn in as a Senator, was to co-sponsor a motion to remove the Howard/Kevin Andrews legislation blocking voluntary euthanasia in the Northern Territory, the ACT and Norfolk Island.
At a Victorian level, Stuart introduced a Private Members’ Bill in 2021 to fix two vital flaws in the current legislation. The Government responded that they are waiting for the Minister’s review (2024 at least) to fix the issues but DHJP believes that we shouldn’t wait to change laws when they are acknowledged to be broken and negatively affecting people.
The Bill aimed to:
– Allow telehealth to be used for all VAD appointments, except the first, giving people in regional Victoria (and extremely ill people who can’t travel) better access to VAD
– Allow permanent residents (without a permanent residency visa) to access VAD, fixing a loophole that has stopped people who’ve lived in Victoria for 20+ years being able to access VAD.
DHJP will continue to advocate for the right to die with dignity with adequate safeguards in place.