An overwhelming majority of NSW members voted at the 2019 AGM in favour of transforming the Voluntary Euthanasia Party NSW (VEP) into the Reason Party NSW providing an opportunity to develop the Party into a more powerful and effective political force.
The new look political party intends to make voluntary assisted dying laws a major election issue in 2023, if the NSW Parliament doesn’t take steps to progress this important social issue in 2020.
Members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party NSW had hoped that NSW would have its own assisted dying law well before the next state election but that optimism faded quickly after witnessing the divisive parliamentary debate on abortion law reform in August and September which nearly resulted in the Berejiklian losing its majority.
At the moment the Government seems reluctant to pursue another social reform in this term of parliament so there is now a real possibility that NSW will be the last Australian jurisdiction to introduce compassionate, assisted dying laws.
The Voluntary Euthanasia Party NSW registered in 2013 to use the political process to further the campaign for voluntary assisted dying laws in NSW. Our single issue party has contested the last two state elections, receiving almost 47,000 primary votes, or just over 1% of the formal votes in the March 2019 election.
Although we have not been successful in winning a seat in the NSW Parliament, we have kept the issue of voluntary assisted dying laws on the political and public agenda and our campaigns have achieved great publicity for the cause. However, the feedback we get from some voters, is that they would like to be able to support our issue but they want to see a broader range of policies before giving us their number one vote.
The Reason Party had been looking to expand its presence across Australia and merging with VEP NSW provides it with a ready-made political party in NSW.
The Reason Party is registered as a political party federally and its founder Fiona Patten has held a seat in the Victorian Upper House for over five years. The Reason Party and Fiona Patten have an established political presence and media profile and access to key personnel with strategic, media and campaigning skills. A merger with Reason will bring greater skills and resources to enable our Party to pursue its goals more effectively and professionally and help us achieve greater success at the next NSW election.
Fiona played an integral role in the passage of the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Law in 2017, so we look forward to joining forces with the people who worked successfully on the passage of the Victorian voluntary assisted dying laws.
The transformation won’t be official until the NSW Electoral Commissioner accepts the changes, a process that is expected to be completed in the new year.