Penny McCasker was born in 1945 and grew up in Melbourne and Canberra. She was educated at Melbourne Girls’ Grammar and Canberra Girls’ Grammar.
She later attended the ANU where she graduated with a B.A. She subsequently attended RMIT where she obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Librarianship. Penny is now retired after working as a contract technical writer for many years. Penny is divorced and has two children and two grandchildren.
Her recreational interests are her puppy Sophie (a Keeshond), music (subscriptions to the Australian Opera, Coffee Concerts and other performances that appeal), book club, & her anti-dementia strategies – The Age Quick Crossword and Scrabble.
Penny’s interest in euthanasia began as a primary school child. Her family stayed with friends whose father was a doctor. Sharing the daughter’s bedroom, after the lights were out, the daughter told her that ‘Daddy killed babies’. This had been overheard by the daughter and provided the little girls with exciting, confused and ill-informed bedtime confidences.
Later, Penny discovered that many badly handicapped babies were not encouraged to survive so that they wouldn’t suffer. As a child, when family pets were ‘put down’, Penny also learned that pets should not be allowed to suffer. It was a short and logical step for her to wonder why this compassion was not extended to all living creatures.
She now welcomes the opportunity to be part of the VEP election campaign for the November state election.
In 2002 Sandy Williamson became the face of euthanasia in Melbourne. Penny lived across the road from Sandy’s house and was constantly aware of the intense publicity and activity that surrounded Sandy.
Penny was shocked by the continuing awful theatre that played out until Sandy was successful in taking her life, at the second attempt. Penny believes that Sandy should have had the legal right to end her life at a time and place that she chose.
Her decision was made complicated by the fact that she had Motor Neurone Disease. This meant that she had to end her life before she was ready as assisted suicide is illegal.