Voluntary Euthanasia Party
|Voluntary Euthanasia Party|
|Founded||1 June 2013|
|Ideology||Legalisation of voluntary euthanasia|
|Politics of Australia
The Voluntary Euthanasia Party is a minor political party in Australia, founded in early 2013 by Corey McCann to advocate for legislative change to allow voluntary euthanasia in Australia. The party's inception was strongly supported by Dr Philip Nitschke, director of Exit International and Richard Mills, then President of Dying with Dignity NSW.
The party applied to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to be registered as a political party on 10 May 2013. The application was assessed on 20 May and the party was registered on 1 June.
The party was founded in 2013 in order to bring attention to the need for voluntary assisted dying law reform and to bring together advocates from the Dying with Dignity and Exit International movements. The immediate goal of the VEP was to make voluntary euthanasia a central issue at the September 2013 Federal election, and it nominated six candidates for the Senate (two each in New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia); and a candidate for the House of Representatives seat of Solomon in the Northern Territory. Three of the candidates were terminally ill.
Professor Ranjan Ray, former President of the Western Australia Voluntary Euthanasia Society, was the first convenor of the Party, and was succeeded by Kerry Bromson in 2014. Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International, is the Deputy Convenor, and has been since the party's launch in 2013.
There is no universally agreed definition of “voluntary euthanasia”. Terms like dying with dignity, physician-assisted dying, physician-assisted suicide and voluntary assisted dying are also used. The VEP regards voluntary euthanasia as involving a request by a terminally or incurably ill person for medical assistance to end his or her life painlessly and peacefully. A doctor may administer the medication or prescribe medication that the patient self-administers.
Upcoming NSW State Campaign, 2015
In New South Wales, the VEP will be standing candidates for the Legislative Council in the state election on 28 March 2015. The lead candidate for the VEP in the New South Wales state election, 2015 is Shayne Higson. Mrs Higson began advocating for voluntary assisted dying legislation after her mother died from a brain tumour in 2012.
Victorian State Campaign, 2014
The VEP fielded candidates in five Legislative Council (upper house) regions at the Victorian state election on 29 November 2014. The lead candidate for the VEP in Victoria was Dr Fiona Stewart, public health sociologist and co-author of four books about end of life issues including The Peaceful Pill Handbook. The VEP received 16,769 first preference votes (0.5 per cent of formal upper house votes) and did not win a seat.
Federal Campaign, 2013
The party nominated several candidates at the 2013 Australian federal election: six candidates for the Senate (two each in New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia); and a candidate for the House of Representatives seat of Solomon in the Northern Territory. Three of the candidates were terminally ill.
The VEP has over 3500 members (current as of February 2015), many of whom are also members of their state dying with dignity branch, voluntary euthanasia organisation and/or Exit International.
- Application for registration approved – Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Australian Electoral Commission, 1 June 2013.
- Caddy, Amelia. "Shayne helpless in the face of mother's suffering". The Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Voluntary Euthanasia Professional – Doctor Fiona Stewart". Peacefulpillhandbook.com. Peaceful Pill Handbook. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Dovey, Ceridwen. "Philip Nitschke's wife, Fiona Stewart, on being the 'woman behind the man'". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Victorian Electoral Commission". State Election 2014 results. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- "Voluntary Euthanasia Party bids for Senate seats". SBS News. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Di Stefano, Mark (19 August 2013). "Voluntary Euthanasia Party is born". ABC News. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
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