Dying with Dignity Queensland president Sharon Tregoning of Noosa is passionate about the need for law reform.
Dying with Dignity Queensland president Sharon Tregoning of Noosa is passionate about the need for law reform. Jason Dougherty

The fight for the right to die how you wish

WHAT we know about the choices available at the end-of-life is the subject of a study being conducted by the Cancer Council and QUT with support from University of Queensland researchers.

The study is seeking contact from people who either are terminally ill or are caring for someone with a terminal illness.

It comes as advocacy group Dying with Dignity ramps up its bid to have the Queensland Parliament's

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee respond to Speaker Peter Wellington's call for an inquiry into End of Life Choices.

Dying with Dignity Qld president Sharon Tregoning of Noosa said the committee's failure to make a decision on whether to conduct the inquiry meant it was really saying that dying Queenslanders were not important.

Ms Tregoning said surveys indicated 80% of people supported the right to die with politicians seemingly constrained by a powerful religious lobby.

Former Northern Territory Chief Minister Marshall Perron who has long called the Sunshine Coast home, said there had been 28 private member's bills introduced in Australian states since the NT legislation was vetoed in 1997.

Every state has had at least one Bill introduced except Queensland.

By comparison in South Australia the issue has been the subject of 14 bills plus another nowe being debated which has the support of both the Premier and Leader of the Opposition.

Researcher Jill Wilson said the Cancer Council study sought to tap into people's experience of expressing their own idea of how life should end.

She said grey areas existed between what a doctor considers to be good medical practice and what a patient may find intrusive.

Ms Wilson said the area was tricky, grey and the subject of a range of opinion.

The study would attempt to contribute to the debate now engaged about the rights people should have at end of life.

Ms Wilson said the effectiveness of Advance Health Directives would be considered with what people feel they have made clear sometimes being hard to interpret.

Equally where someone has been specific they may not understand the implications.

The Australian-first study aims to better understand community engagement and decision making about law at the end of life.

Interested patients and family members will be offered information on their legal rights and responsibilities in relation to end-of-life decision-making.

Adult patients with a terminal illness, and their family members (including bereaved family members) are invited to take part with researchers looking to engage at least 40 people across Victoria, NSW and Quensland.

Queenslanders can find out more by contacting the research team at QUT on 3365 2505, or bp.white@qut.edu.au.

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