Councillor opens up about why his mum chose to die
COUNCILLOR Greg Barnes was not representing the Bundaberg Regional Council when he spoke as a witness at an inquiry into euthanasia.
He was speaking personally, as a son.
Cr Barnes's mother Madge died of bowel cancer in another country when she made the decision to be given extra morphine to end her life.
"It must have been hard when she told me the day before," he said.
"It was an extremely brave thing that she did.
"It made it a lot easier for family.
"All her clothes and shoes went to the op shop and her desk was cleared out.
"It was her choice and she planned it for some time."
She was also able to have input into how her husband Norman would live in comfort without her.
Cr Barnes said he considered the personal story he shared to be a positive one, and it was why he advocated euthanasia at the inquiry, but it had been awkward to share it.
"It was quite a while ago and she got what she wanted," he said.
"She did everything to protect us from further pain."
He considered it an important subject for Bundaberg because of the aging demographic.
"A lot of people are passionate about it."
Bundaberg resident Dianne Lange, 74, attended the inquiry held at Bundaberg's Burnett Riverside Motel on Tuesday.
She has been involved with advocate group Dying With Dignity for 20 years.
"At last it's in the Queensland community because it's never been talked about that much," she said.
"It's very hard to get aged people to talk about it because dying is a very difficult subject but we find that 100 per cent of us are going to go that way."
Ms Lange said that because euthanasia was illegal it had forced people to consider suicide.
"I know people that have died hideous deaths, if only we could help them, people are begging to be helped.
"How would you be if someone you loved dearly begged to die?
"It's a sad situation for that to happen and they've got to die alone, otherwise their family is implicated.
"I would rather them be looked at by medical staff in their own home and looked after, and when they've begged to die it should be out in the open, with family by your side and not hidden behind that suicide word which is ugly.
"We want a peaceful death."
Legislation to allow euthanasia as an option for terminally ill people would also give assurance to people who were not terminally ill, knowing that it was an option for them to consider if ever their health worsened.