Nia has a highly informed perspective – an experienced nurse, she watched the protracted death of her father with cerebral cancer (recreated by Go Gentle in Stop The Horror), and is living with and dying from the autoimmune connective tissue disease scleroderma. For her, voluntary assisted dying is not hypothetical or professional but as personal as it gets.

Nia Sims

Image: View from a red velvet couch, Parliament House library, 6am, Friday 20.10.17

First published –, 23.10.17

By the wee hours of Friday morning, the mood in the house was slightly delirious. My friend, colleague and registered nurse Jane Morris and many others cried when the vote on voluntary assisted dying, 47-37, was finally declared to a packed house at 11am after a record 22 hour sitting in Victorian Parliament. It was met with a weary but fulsome round of applause from most in attendance.

My vantage point from the “accessible” section of the public gallery was one of the few perks of being, as far as I know, the only visibly seriously physically sick or disabled person to attend the sitting. I could see the entire public gallery, press gallery, and members to the right of the speaker. If I craned my neck forward, I could watch the…

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