My journey as an advocate for voluntary assisted dying

Noreen Fynn - My journey as an advocate for voluntary assisted dying

A new journey began for me in March 2017. A journey I never saw coming and one which has been hard, challenging, emotional, enlightening and enriching all at the same time. It leaves me with a heightened faith in my fellow Western Australians, in the fundamental goodness of mankind and a deepened respect for our democracy.

It has been a journey marked with courage and compassion.

My journey with being an advocate for voluntary assisted dying began when my husband, who was in a world of pain of every sort, took his own life. This had never been my cause to that point. It had become his in the last few years of his life. This was to be his last battle and so, with his death, it became my battle. 

Two years nine months later and Voluntary Assisted Dying is now law in Western Australia.

In that time I have spoken with media, at rallies and forums, given evidence to the Joint Select Committee into End of Life Choices, been a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying, met with parliamentarians and sat for many hours in the public galleries listening to the debates.

The overwhelming emotion on 10th December when the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill became law was the sense of relief and thankfulness that there will now be choice for people at the end of life.

And so at this moment it is good to acknowledge the courage and compassion that have brought us to this moment.

  • Of the government in taking on this contentious issue with all the varied strongly held beliefs, values and opinions and in doing so in a bipartisan manner with a conscience vote.
  • Of parliamentarians from all sides of politics who canvassed their electorates, came to forums and gave this matter deep and heartfelt consideration. Our democracy is in good shape.
  • Of the leadership of all the parties in Parliament in collaborating, committing to and delivering on a December deadline for resolution one way or another.
  • Of the inspirational people like Belinda Teh, Rhonda Taylor, Peta Quinlivan, Joanna Church and others in Go Gentle’s Broken Hearted along with hundreds of other Western Australians who showed enormous strength in sharing their lives and stories so that parliamentarians could understand the reality of end of life experiences.
  • Of the thousands and thousands of Western Australians who emailed their parliamentarians and signed the petitions supporting this legislation and calling for it be handled by parliament in a timely manner. They left no doubt of the majority support in our state.
  • Of the long time supporters and campaigners like Robin Chapple, Dying with Dignity WA and Go Gentle Australia.

Clive was a man of courage and compassion in life and in death. It is a moment to be proud of him, proud of what we have all achieved, proud of WA, of our democracy and our media who treated this ethically and with viewpoints from all sides. This journey is now at an end and now a new journey begins.

Noreen Fynn