The Voluntary Euthanasia Party (VEP) 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 Representative seat of Solomon in the Northern Territory.
Australian Capital Territory
Dr Philip Nitschke (2013 Senate Candidate)
Philip has campaigned for many years for the introduction of sensible and compassionate voluntary euthanasia legislation in Australia. As the doctor who worked to introduce Australia’s first legislation, the short lived Rights of the Terminally Ill Act in the Northern Territory in 1996, then as the only medical practitioner to use this law to provide four of his terminally ill patients with a peaceful death, Philip is uniquely positioned to see the benefit to society that follows the implementation of such legislation.
Philip has a background in physics and medicine and has worked as a doctor for many years in the Northern Territory. He recently moved to Canberra with his partner Fiona, and their dog Henny. As a foundation member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, he will stand as the VEP Senate candidate in the Australian Capital Territory. His goal is to repeal the discriminatory Federal law, now in place, that prevents all Australian Territories (the ACT, Northern Territory and Norfolk Island) from ever passing future voluntary euthanasia legislation.
Susan MacDougall (2013 Senate Candidate)
I have been a Canberra resident since 1967. I am 71 years old and strongly interested in the issue of voluntary euthanasia law reform. I have been a member of Exit International for about ten years.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition, which means that my body is attacking itself. While it's not immediately life threatening, I didn't know at the time how long I had to live - I thought it was 4 to 5 years, although I'm still here now. I didn't want to go slowly and painfully, so I searched around and found Exit International. It was obvious that the law would be slow to change and would fail to help Australians who want a painless end of life choice in the near future. Hence, I developed a long-term commitment to changing the legislation to provide choice for a peaceful death, free from suffering, when the end of life is imminent and inevitable.
New South Wales
Shayne Higson (2013 Senate Candidate)
Shayne is a photographic artist and someone who usually expresses her political opinions through her visual art. Although she has always believed in the principle of dying with dignity, it was following the death of her mother in late 2012 from an aggressive brain cancer that Shayne became passionate, and vocal, in her support for the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill in New South Wales.
Shayne told her story, along with many others, in the hope that politicians would respond to the overwhelming community support and introduce new laws to allow medically assisted dying for terminally ill patients who are experiencing unbearable suffering. When the bill was defeated in the NSW Upper House 23 – 13, Shayne was bitterly disappointed but determined to continue the campaign for law reform.
Shayne has never been involved in politics, however, she has always been willing to step up and be a voice for her peers, be that as a student representative at school and college, as a board member for various arts organisations during the 1980’s, and later on parent organisations and school P & C’s.
Shayne was born and raised in Sydney but currently lives on the Mid North Coast of NSW. She is a caring daughter, sister, partner and mother and is proud to be the Senate candidate for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party in New South Wales, providing a voice for the thousands of families and carers who have watched loved ones suffer unnecessarily at the end of their terminal illness.
Loredana Mulhall (2013 Senate Candidate)
My name is Loredana Mulhall and I have been a dedicated advocate for voluntary euthanasia for many years.
I am a 64 year old, medically retired English teacher and have lived with multiple sclerosis for 35 years. I am now confined to a wheelchair and am unable to move any part of my body but I am able to blow and sip through straws to move my wheelchair and I am currently relearning to use my computer using my mouth.
Earlier this year I led a social media campaign in a bid to generate community support for the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill in NSW. I am now happy to be able to stand as the second Senate Candidate in NSW because I can say that, as a person with advanced MS, I know what I am talking about in regard to voluntary euthanasia.
I want people to know that I am not giving up and I don’t want to die now, but I’d like the choice when I’m ready and I know other people in my situation want that choice too. While I can still speak, I want to use my voice to help others find peace and dignity.
I am not a politician but as a child of non-English speaking parents I am familiar with the role as a spokesperson. I feel that this is a great opportunity not just for me but for people with disabilities who are unable, too shy or lack the language skills, to speak for themselves.
Max Bromson (2013 Senate Candidate)
Max commenced his oil industry career as a representative for Caltex in 1968 in Clare & Broken Hill. In 1974 he acquired the Caltex Broken Hill & Gladstone distributorships, distributing fuel in Gladstone, through Eastern SA, Western NSW, North Eastern NSW, Northern SA, from Pt Augsta, Whyalla, Marree, Coober Pedy, to Oodnadatta. He has a very good working knowledge of South Australia & its regions. He sold the business in 1990 & worked as a consultant to the new owners for 3 years.
During his time in Clare he won a Knapstein medal in 1971 & worked as board member & vice captain playing with North Clare football club. An Active member of Lions club. During his years in Broken Hill he was actively involved in the community as a footballer at Central Broken Hill participating in several premierships & received his life membership in 1979. He was a generous sponsor of the 4 football clubs, the umpires, the St Johns, the famous Broken Hill Wheelbarrow push. The 2BH MAX BROMSON BDT Sportstar Awards were sponsored by Max in association with the Radio station & the Barrier Daily Truth.
During this period Max served on the APADA Oil Agents State Board for 8 years including 2 years as State President SA, Receiving the OOFERS Australian Award. The balance of his working life was spent consulting in Fuel, Gas & Wine industries. Max served in the CMF during the Vietnam war and is still an active member of the RSL.
In 2000, Max donated one of his kidneys to his brother who was suffering long term renal failure. Tragically, three days later Max’s second wife was run down & killed by a drugged driver outside the hospital on her way to visit him.
Max has a grown up daughter & son & two lovely grandchildren. Sadly, Max is currently suffering with a rare bone cancer. This positively reinforces his attitude to euthanasia. He fully understands the meaning of pain & the shortcomings of palliative care. Max lives on the mighty Murray river near Mannum.
Mike Boerema (2013 Senate Candidate)
I am a practising veterinarian working in the field of artificial breeding of livestock. I have businesses involved in the dairy, beef and wine industries.
I would be proud to be a Senator for South Australia and able to represent those who would like the choice to be able to end their lives with dignity. Recently my mother died after contracting Alzheimer's Disease. Her slow lingering death with an emaciated body was a real stimulus for me to join the VEP.
I have taken on leadership positions in my profession and in my community and have always enjoyed the challenges these have given me. I am comfortable dealing with people and have good negotiating and listening skills. These attributes will be important in bringing about change in Parliament.
My aim is to repeal the federal law which prevents all Australian Territories from ever passing future voluntary euthanasia legislation. This would be a major stepping stone towards state legislation in support of voluntary euthanasia.
I also believe that an independent Senator from a strong minor party like the VEP, particularly with my close connection with agriculture, will be very beneficial for South Australia.
Martin Burgess (2013 Candidate for Solomon)
Martin has been a committed supporter of voluntary euthanasia legislation for many years. As a resident of Darwin, he campaigned in 1995 for the introduction of the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act. Like many Territorians, he was devastated when this legislation was overturned by politicians in Canberra, and resolved to do all he could to see these laws reinstated.
Martin, 70, was born in Zimbabwe, but has been an Australian citizen residing in Darwin for many years. Martin set up and ran a therapeutic and sports massage business in Darwin until serious illness forced him to retire. While cancer surgery has given him a slight extension to his life, it has not been curative, and he is now facing a limited life expectancy. Martin has decided to use this time campaigning as the VEP candidate in the Northern Territory seat of Solomon to draw attention to the failure of politicians and their parties to recognise the electorate's support for voluntary euthanasia.
While he realises that change may come too late to be of any benefit to him, he is hopeful that his participation as a candidate in this 2013 Federal election will prompt politicians to seriously consider their position and support real change for the benefit of others in his position in the future.