Month 6, Day 8: Letter to Federal Parliamentarians, conscience voting

Hi, today every Federal Parliamentarian received the email below. I hope this will be picked up on a broad scale by media of all forms as it is about getting the Dying with Dignity onto the table and into discussion in every household. Feel free to help do so.

Also greater exposure to petershort.com.au and the petition can only assist. Now at 11500 and growing.

Supporting a conscience vote on Dying with Dignity draft bill

Dear

I am a 57 year old resident of Melbourne who is terminally ill with oesophageal cancer. I am asking you consider this very serious note.

I recently came to Canberra and had the opportunity to make a presentation to a number of federal members and senators from all parties in support of a Dying with Dignity bill tabled for comment. I also had the opportunity to meet a number of members and senators one on one.

I wrote to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and received a letter from Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg stating “We need an honest, open and high level public debate on this issue”. I therefore see that as a mandate the bill process will continue.

I understand a process will now follow, amongst federal politicians, to see this critical dyng with dignity bill put forward in parliament for a conscience vote.

A conscience or non party vote is not the right of an individual parliamentarian. They must represent those who voted for them, their electorates majority collective conscience. If under extreme circumstances this leads to a parliamentarian having an opposing deeply held personal view, they should declare that and abstain.

With that in mind I believe on a matter that has had such emotional and difficult passage in the past, yet overwhelming Australian public support today each Federal Senator and Member should be transparent and let us all know where their conscience vote would rest. Some minds may be made up others possibly undecided. It is important that all constituents know their position to enable free and clear discussion immediately.

Please respond to me with your position as to where you stand on this important issue by end of July. I also suggest accommodating your view on your website would be most appropriate.

I have a short time left and I will choose, how, when and where I die. If you would like to be better informed around my story and circumstances please refer to: petershort.com.au

With the greatest urgency, passion and respect,

Peter Short

Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 8/10 Life Enjoyment 10/10

5 thoughts on “Month 6, Day 8: Letter to Federal Parliamentarians, conscience voting

  1. Great letter Peter. I’d like to copy and disseminate at our next Port Macquarie Dying with Dignity NSW meeting on 5 August – is that ok with you? Dying with Dignity NSW has asked all members and supporters to write to politicians asking them to support legislative change. We can only hope our combined efforts will make a difference. You are an inspiration. Many thanks, Annie

    • Hi, thanks and please feel free to use anything that helps. I would love it if you also put the call out to all NSW DWD members and friends who may not be aware of the blog and petition to have a read and even better get everyone they know behind the petition. Numbers on a petition really do work and i am way short. I sent a note a while back to the NSW DWD address and only response was it will be referred to a committee. You might be able to crack through for me.
      Peter

  2. Great letter Peter. I especially liked this paragraph – something that is often omitted when writing or talking about the issue –

    “conscience or non party vote is not the right of an individual parliamentarian. They must represent those who voted for them, their electorates majority collective conscience. If under extreme circumstances this leads to a parliamentarian having an opposing deeply held personal view, they should declare that and abstain”

    If this were the real case, then there would only be either pollies supporting it or abstaining. There wouldn’t be any pollies voting against the legislation because I seriously doubt that any electorate has a majority of those 15% of people that don’t support it’s legislation.

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