A Tasmanian petition advocating for proposed voluntary assisted dying laws has attracted a record number of signatures.
Your Choice TAS, founded by Hobart sisters Jacqui and Natalie Gray, has prepared an e-petition that will be tabled in the House of Assembly by Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, who sponsored it.
The Gray sisters’ mother Diane died of cancer last year, which has prompted them to fight passionately for voluntary assisted dying laws to be introduced in Tasmania.
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Their petition received 11,699 signatures, which is understood to be more than double the number any other e-petition to come before the State Parliament has received.
The largest e-petition to the Legislative Council had 5479 signatures.
Independent Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney is expected to table a bill in the upper house to legalise voluntary assisted dying later this month.
Natalie said the support for the voluntary assisted dying campaign had demonstrated “infinite amounts of love, compassion, kindness and integrity”, traits she said represented “the epitome of our mum”.
“That in itself confirms our mum’s death was not in vain,” she said. “We are incredibly overwhelmed with the phenomenal community response which has validated every aspect of mum’s end of life experience and her plea to access voluntary assisted dying laws.”
“The community has made us so proud to be Tasmanian and our hearts are so full.”
Jacqui said the petition “undeniably” confirmed that Tasmanians wanted voluntary assisted dying laws.
“We are asking our members of parliament to please fairly represent the majority of your constituents, who desperately want this legislation passed,” she said.
The Grays’ petition showed there was a “strong mood for reform” among Tasmanians, Ms O’Connor said.
“‘Support for voluntary assisted dying cuts across all political and demographic boundaries,” she said.
“In poll after poll, at a state and national level, public support is at 75-80 per cent.
“Tasmanians understand the law as it is does not provide for the small, but significant number of suffering people for whom palliative care cannot and does not provide relief.”
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