On Saturday 30 November Belinda Teh hosted a picnic in King's Park to honour her mother Mareia who suffered intolerably as she died. She wanted also to thank her supporters, and to pay tribute to them and the many other Western Australians who have lost loved ones in similar circumstances, or may themselves be facing a prolonged and agonising death.
The white rose, Mareia's favourite flower, has become the symbol of Belinda's walk across Australia to bring voluntary assisted dying from Victoria to WA. At the picnic the many white roses and guests dressed in white stood in stunning contrast to the green of King's Park and the blue of the river and sky. It was an occasion to commemorate sorrow and loss, and to celebrate how far we have come. Not quickly enough for everyone, but in due course for many.
Hon Robin Chapple MLC and Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, both veterans of the struggle to introduce voluntary assisted dying as a compassionate end of life choice in WA, both spoke to the gathering. We thank them and all their colleagues across the political spectrum who have worked in this cause. We thank Rhonda Taylor who has devoted her dying weeks to bring about change and whose petition - now with over 50,000 signatures - has touched the hearts of many. We thank all the other people who were there and who would have liked to be there, who have courageously told their stories and helped to make dying with dignity a reality in WA.
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