Day 31/90: PM Tony Abbott rang me for a 30 min chat on Dying with Dignity, fascinating and helpful.


Today I had what I feel was one of the most worthwhile chats to bring Choice at end of life for the terminally ill and intolerably suffering. The Prime Minister devoted a quality half hour to understanding my point of view, asking questions to further his knowledge, empathising with my personal circumstance and laying a few of his cards squarely and quite rightly on the table. So how do I do that conversation justice. I think points will be best.

  1. The real biggie for me was , The Prime Minister is happy to be quoted that I can be reassured that if Senator Di Natalie’s bill comes to the house it would be under terms of a free vote from his perspective.
  2. He and I come from different idealogical backgrounds so in his own instance he would not vote in favour,
  3. He feels the laws and current system offer great support but does recognise there are a lot of grey areas, yet he feels this may not be a bad thing.
  4. He believes law enforcement would not go out of their way to take action against someone who did exercise choice or assisted someone in those circumstances unless they were doing so in a sensationalistic way (he did say however it was his bush lawyer view).
  5. He has plans for a very busy 2015 taking the country forward on many fronts and at present DWD law change is not part of that agenda, unless public and parliamentarian opinion makes it so. He did say however that if there was a readiness to bring it on then it will come on. He sees some process parallels to this and the current Gay Marriage laws in terms of possibly numbers and process/support.
  6. He was interested in understanding what choice involved in terms of the drug, process and whether it was a drug used for other treatments. I think I added a bit to his knowledge base there.

There was a lot more to the conversation and I feel that though the Prime Minister will never be an advocate for the Di Natalie bill he will not stand in the way of democratic processes to let it run its course. The big learning here Australia is we all as individuals need to get this issue onto every parliamentarians slate for it to be on the Prime Ministers. Fair enough I say.

My job on this is still far from done but wow what a euphoric wheel to have turned. I close by saying I am invigourated by the Prime Ministers response, I found him with a great sense of humour, candour and even charisma that I have not seen on television. I am pleased having the Liberal free to vote position on this up front and centre. He felt this was always clear but somewhere I missed that as I think have most of the population, so great it is cleared up. Maybe it will be another brick in the wall of this legislative change as it should encourage discussion at many and varied tables.

From here I can ease off the politics a bit at the Federal level and work on telling the story and the need for legislative change at a national level. I do think there is also a role to be played by me in the Dying with Dignity debate in Victoria, and goal of referral of the medical treatment act to the Victorian law reform commission. There is now a considerable shift of players in Victorian upper and lower houses. Some such a Fiona Patten and the Greens together with some other influential people in the major parties have this on their agenda. Effecting change here would simply compliment the desired goal of national legislative change under the Di Natale plan.

Thanks Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making a real difference to me in my fading days, I hope you got a bit out of it as well. Peter

73 thoughts on “Day 31/90: PM Tony Abbott rang me for a 30 min chat on Dying with Dignity, fascinating and helpful.

  1. Congratulations Peter!! At last……. 🙂 You should be very pleased you have finally got through the fog to actually get to him. What a journey! Thrilled for you. Great to hear he will back a conscience vote. Again… well done you!! Julie

  2. Shorty, this is the best ‘Xmas present’ news ever!! To finally read that our PM has given you the courtesy of a 30min chat to discuss DWD, is the most powerful and rewarding accolade for your continuous efforts. I am so happy for you. Keep punching.

      • Great news, but do not believe anything that he or the Libs say until proved by outcomes. The Libs in NSW also had a free, conscience vote on Cate Faehrmann’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill in 2013. Outrageously, not one out of 15 Libs and Nats voted for the bill. Given that 80% of NSW voters supported the bill, the likelihood that this would happen by chance is one in about 100 billion, So Mr Abbott, make sure your parliamentarians do not perpetrate another outrage!

      • Peter’s family: I am sorry I wrote such a negative post about the Abbott approach. I too would wish to congratulate Peter on his efforts, and while we will need to see if TA keeps his word, Peter’s approach was very useful and can do nothing but good. A shame he did not live to see DWD move forward in Australia,

  3. I am so pleased for you that the PM finally got in touch with you Peter. This would have given you a great deal of satisfaction and so well deserved.
    I am very happy for you…………keep it going 👍

  4. You BLOODY BEAUT Peter !!!!!I!! The PM finally may lead me to believe he has a heart somewhere within that carcass…… or at the very least hes trying to up his fan base 😉
    Hopefully now you can let sleeping dogs lie with him and move forward to more progressive projects. All the best to you and yours for the xmas break xx
    ( I re-posted here because it posted in the wrong spot! I got too excited!!)

  5. Well done ! You should be so proud. I am glad the Prime Minister was honest and, this is a key value of yourself. We all must feed the groundswell behind you, you are leading the way.
    good job !

  6. OMG Pete that is amazing. As they say, all good things come to those who wait. Lets see what happens now and into the new year.

  7. Congrats Shorty, 😄 you have fought so hard on this , and regardless of his thoughts or personal opinions you have got him to listen … Awesome xxx

  8. Fantastic news Peter, your hard work has paid off at last. Great to hear Abbott’s comments, especially the conscience vote bit – I certainly did not know about that.
    Continuing best wishes . . .

  9. Awesome news, your persistence yet again pays off Peter and so great to hear he will support a conscience vote – the only way it will be successful. I may be the beneficiary of your work one day, and for that I say thanks.

  10. Really happy for you Peter, and I’m especially happy that you’ve ticked off one important thing from your “Bucket list” (I get the impression it was probably on your bucket list??!!) 🙂 🙂

  11. Wow! Awesome effort! What can I say….. And a great balanced reflection piece too. A very big step forward I think.
    Keep fighting the good fight…..

  12. What a wonderful day for you and delighted that the phone call from the Prime Minister was useful and informative for both of you. Maybe you can now concentrate your energies in other ways. Congratulations for your persistence. A great Christmas present!

  13. I’m glad you are happy with the result and I hope your faith is vindicated but I would not trust the PM as far as I could kick the town hall!

  14. Great news today Peter, couldn’t believe the P.M.had the balls to contact you ! but then again the groundswell of your endeavours have proven to much to ignore any longer ! Hat off to him for his time and hopefully his honest answers . Thank you once again from those travelling that rollacoaster ride with you . Tom

  15. Always knew your absolute determination would get the desired result!!!! Your not just a trail blazer, but a person that wants to make a difference for all! You’re top shelf PS1.

  16. Great to hear that your dogged determination and campaigning has reaps the rewards you so justly deserve . Was also pleasantly surprised to read of his response and encouraged that he will back a conscience vote. Well done you!! Lovely to see your gorgeous wife today,we miss her😊 rest a little easier now and enjoy special family time this Christmas ,Robyn x

  17. Great summary of your conversation with the PM. Like always, I love your determination and your passion for change on DWD. Keep pushing to make change a reality.
    Merry Christmas.

  18. Fantastic news Peter – I know my own father, (who was actually also called Peter), will be looking down very happy to see you driving the debate on this. He sadly passed away from cancer a few years ago and was an advocate for DYD.

  19. Peter, what a great effort you’ve made, and in that 30 minutes I’m sure you influenced the PMs thinking, you are very persuasive. All the best for Christmas with the family. You should take a moment to recognise your achievements and celebrate them x

  20. Pete so pleased for you that you achieved that goal of speaking to the PM. Well done.
    PS celebrated Brad Wicherson’s 50th birthday with him last week as he takes some leave from Shell to travel OS (again!) and we spoke about you together as we are watching and listening to your progress and achievements always. Sean.

  21. Shorty, it has all been said above, you have many many supporters out there as you know and you have laid the foundations for a lot of us to follow.
    Now we all must lead!
    Have no doubt many makes a difference.

  22. Hi Peter, I came across your blog by accident and glad I did. Firstly, wishing you all the best with managing the challenges that lie ahead for both you and your family. Secondly, I can empathise with you and your family having just lost my dad to cancer only 2 months ago. At 68 years of age, there were many times I wish I could fulfil my dads wishes and end the horrible things he had to go through. I support you with your quest and wish you well on all levels. I am glad Mr Abbott called you but he may be able to comprehend this a bit better if his mum or dad was going through it and he had to sit back and watch them go through some pretty confronting stuff. Kind regards and wishes, Daniela

  23. Congratulations Peter. Your conversation with the PM sounds as though it was clarifying and positive. What a superb effort on your part. He has an extraordinary agenda and that you were able to engage him for 30 minutes on something that is not on his list speaks volumes about you.
    You have done so much. Take care. Anna

  24. Fantastic to hear that persistence finally beats resistance. you really are fantastic. see you Christmas day.should i but the cognac??

  25. Oh that’s just fantastic news! Good work Shorty xxx keep it up! What a great Christmas gift to you & all your hard work. Sounds like a good chat hopefully you helped him start to think a little differently as well xxx

  26. Congratulations Peter,
    for your dedication & courage
    in eduring the DWD battle.
    Then confronting an extremely
    Challenging man the PM & advocating on behalf of those who want to be allowed to die with dignity,like yourself.
    To advocate in a obviously diplomatic,patient,clear,confident manner to result in a potential conscience vote,from the lips of a ultra religious,conservative,right winger like Abbott.
    Peter your amazing,I salute you!

  27. Congratulations on your phone call to Tony Abbott. Congratulations to him also for giving you his time when he is so busy and for being honest about his position. He was never going to be a supporter of DWD but at least now maybe he is more informed.
    You have done a great deal to assist this cause Peter, I hope it brings you some comfort knowing you have done your best. No one can do more than that.

  28. Congratulations Peter, hard to believe Abbott had the decency to talk to you. Previous prime ministers would not have been so considerate, I’m sure. Have a beaut christmas and a break.
    Bob Meharg.

  29. Great work Peter, I do hope it all keeps going ahead and you get a good results, this surely is needed in some circumstances. keep chipping away and Merry Xmas.

  30. Hi Peter
    Best news ever. Jules and I are in Prague for Christmas, so for first time Wingfields won’t be together. Hope the Shorts Christmas is wonderful. You must have a strong sense of achievement with this conversation, I wasn’t optimistic that this would happen before Christmas. We often reflect on the fabulous Friday night get together we all shared, you have been and will continue to be an outstanding role model , your capacity and determination and honesty is inspiring. Love to the family , Marg.

  31. I don’t understand what you’re all so excited about, nothing has changed. The Prime Minister rang up to tell you he doesn’t agree with you, big deal.

  32. hi peter
    I would not celebrate yet a conscience vote relies on the politicians to have a conscience and 1 in 30 people fall into the category of psychopath and these psychopaths are prolific in politics and the police and the medical system this is a scientific fact the government does not want the public to know this is why there is so many unjust laws. I will be dead soon not because I am terminally ill I have a nasty spinal injury, I could have a long happy life if the government would allow but they have over restricted the pain killers I need so far that I get to be tortured to death. I have spoken with more government workers than I care to remember and all I have gotten is state blaming federal and federal blaming state its all bull shit there are no morals or decency anywhere in government so I have stoped eating under the current system its my only choice. just to show everyone how crocked the government is I know where there is a ww2 torpedo that was trawled up and is in a populated public area, I will not release its location until the government investigates a number of crimes like a number of counts of attempted murder and the fact the police covered it up and the criminal behaviour of doctors and medical staff which is also being covered up and attempted kidnapping just to name a few the government would rather leave a large amount of explosives dumped in a public area than do what is right needless to say I reported this 9 years ago and its still there. there are government departments as well as state and federal politicians including the office of the prime minister covering this up I know where it is and who put it there. the only conclusion I can make is that the government is a criminal organisation that is morally bankrupt so I wouldn’t hold your breath that they will do the right thing. you might have to stop eating to die its not a good way to go but its the only legal option to end suffering

  33. Peter and family, you must feel so relieved and satisfied reaching such a milestone in your achievement towards DWD, I truly hope that people power will rise up and push this issue over the line to be an acceptable option in anyone’s life to simply have a choice in their death. You and your family, including your beloved puppy, are truly an inspiration.

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