DYING WITH DIGNITY WA
DWDWA is an incorporated not-for-profit association, founded in 1984. The members of DWDWA believe that a mentally competent person who is terminally ill and experiencing intolerable and irremediable pain or suffering should have the right to choose to die, painlessly and with dignity, and that a doctor who has the courage and compassion to help them must be protected by the law.
This belief is held by an overwhelming majority of Australians. As at 1 January 2022 it was enshrined in law in every state except New South Wales, where legislation has passed through the lower house and will be voted on in the upper house in the near future. It is also enshrined in law in a growing number of countries all over the world.
The association represents a wide range of people, who support its work through membership fees, donations and bequests. It is run almost entirely by volunteers. It is closely aligned with other Dying with Dignity organisations throughout Australia and is a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.
The objects of DWDWA as stated in its constitution are:
- To help relieve the distress, helplessness and suffering experienced by Western Australians with untreatable, painful or terminal illnesses, and to support their families and carers;
- To promote the best end of life care for our citizens, including high quality palliative care and voluntary assisted dying in appropriate circumstances;
- To educate and inform the community about end of life choices;
- To work for the successful passage through the WA Parliament of voluntary assisted dying legislation that is both safe and workable; and
- To promote every person’s right to die a good death, according to their wishes and beliefs.
The fourth of these objects has been achieved; all of the others remain important for all West Australians, especially those who may be approaching the end of their lives.
To see our current and future objectives, see “2022 and Beyond” [Our website currently being updated and a link will be provided ASAP. Feb 2022]
- that death is part of life;
- that freedom of choice at the end of life is a fundamental human right;
- that voluntary assisted dying should be integrated into the existing end of life choices; and
- that a dying person’s wish to die at home should be facilitated where possible.
WHAT WE DO
- Promote a public conversation about end of life choices in order to change the existing atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding this final rite of passage.
- Provide information to members and the community about voluntary assisted dying, and promote active discussion and sharing of information via social media – see our Facebook page.
- Host and participate in public meetings, lectures and debates to raise awareness about dying with dignity.
- Work with medical practitioners to encourage people to make wills and sign advance health directives and to discuss their health decisions and end of life choices with their doctors and families.
- Liaise with national and international Voluntary Assisted Dying organisations and the media.
- Attend local, national and overseas forums on issues related to voluntary assisted dying.
- Provide information on governmental legislative requirements relating to dying with dignity. We undertake to deal with your personal questions in a confidential and sensitive way.
- To achieve our objectives we work and exchange information with:
- other dying with dignity advocates such as Go Gentle Australia and the Dying with Dignity associations interstate;
- medical practitioners, Palliative Care WA, Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation, the Police Union WA, disease organisations, aged care and disability sectors; and
- other like-minded organisations such as Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice and Christians supporting Voluntary Euthanasia.
Volunteers at a RAAFA 'Dying To Know Day' event in early August 2018
DYING WITH DIGNITY WA COMMITTEE
The Committee members of DWDWA as at 1 January 2022:
Stephen Walker - President
Murray Hindle - Vice President
Alan Pugh - Treasurer
Gail Wyatt - Secretary
Gaye Harvey – Membership Secretary
Mary Jane Whitehead - Minute Secretary
Richard Lugg - Committee Member
Mary Aerts - Committee Member
Committee members and volunteers preparing for the rally on 23 August 2018