A petition with over eight thousand signatures was presented to the Parliament by the Deputy Premier on Tuesday 17th July.
The Petition, one of the largest ever received, was organised by Dying With Dignity Victoria and draws to the attention of the House that under current legislation, Victorians do not have the right to choose to die with dignity when suffering a terminal or incurable illness with profound suffering. Independent research shows that the vast majority of Victorians believe this right should exist. The petition requests that the Legislative Assembly of Victoria enact this right into legislation with appropriate safeguards.
The petition comes a month after a rally on the steps of Parliament House by supporters of the petition. The rally commemorated the second anniversary of the death of Steve Guest. a journalist and former media advisor to the Cain Labor Government. Who may have helped him achieve his quest to go peacefully is still a matter that is under police investigation. At the rally, Dr. Rodney Syme, vice president of Dying With Dignity said that he provided Steve with medication and challenged the Parliament to enact appropriate legislation that more than 80% of Victorians want.
At the rally, cross-party politicians from Labor, Liberal and Greens spoke in support of the need for legislative change. Ken Smith (Liberal) undertook to join others in sponsoring a Private Members bill into the current Parliament.