Sharon Cramp-Oliver, a resident of the Northern Territory, has a deeply personal connection to the issue of voluntary euthanasia. Her mother, Liz Holmes, suffered from unbearable pain due to a 12-year battle with breast cancer, a broken back, and two painful hip replacements.
In her old diaries, Liz wrote about her suffering and her wish to end her own life. She also expressed that if she could have accessed voluntary euthanasia, she would have.
Liz lived in New South Wales, where voluntary euthanasia was not permitted. Sharon, who lives in the Northern Territory, wished that if voluntary euthanasia was legal, she could have brought her mother to die surrounded by people who loved her.
This personal experience led Sharon to share her mother’s story for the first time, hoping it may spark a new conversation about assisted dying.
In the backdrop of Sharon’s story is the history of voluntary euthanasia legislation in the Northern Territory. The Territory was the first place in the world to legalise voluntary euthanasia in 1995, thanks to a private bill put forward by then-Chief Minister Marshall Perron.
However, the law was overturned by the Federal Parliament of Australia less than a year after it came into force.
Despite the setback, advocates like Sharon and Marshall Perron continue their fight for the right to die with dignity. They hope that their efforts will lead to a change in the law, allowing individuals to make their own end-of-life decisions. Sharon’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the human impact of this issue and the importance of continuing the conversation about voluntary assisted dying especially in the NT where there is no legislation yet despite the Federal Parliament having made it possible again.
Sharon Cramp-Oliver’s mother Liz Holmes