Euthanasia: What do older Australians think about a choice to die?

Euthanasia: What do older Australians think about a choice to die?

Euthanasia: What do older Australians think about a choice to die?

Updated 7 September 2017, 15:05 AEST

As state governments grapple with euthanasia, five older Australians share how they feel about having the choice to die.

As state governments grapple with euthanasia, how do the older Australians feel about having the choice to die?

The Victorian and New South Wales parliaments are currently considering legislation around legalising medically assisted deaths for the terminally ill.

The NSW electorate of Myall Lakes is considered to have one of the highest proportion of older people in New South Wales and opinions around end of life choices are strong.

So how do five older people feel about the issue?

John and Margaretha McKendry, early 80s: against

John and Margaretha McKendry, both in their early eighties, are diametrically opposed to any form of euthanasia.

"They are calling it assisted dying but really it is suicide," John McKendry said.

"Suicide is something our society puts a lot of time in preventing with teenagers and anybody else in the community, yet this bill is designed to kick off the process of suicide."

Margaretha, who has overcome cancer, believes in the sanctity of life.

"God gave us life and God takes our life and we have no right to take our own," she said.

Valerie Clarke, 87: supports

Valerie Clarke's experience of nursing both her mother and husband before they died as influenced her view on euthanasia.

She believes it should be for everyone.

"Those who don't want it have not sat with their family and watched them die and I have," she said.

"My mother died after 13 years of nursing and my husband died of cancer. I watched him every day.

"He wanted to go. He told the doctor, 'If I was a dog you'd shoot me' and they let him live and he had a painful death."

"I think we should all be able to say when we want to go if it is terminal or not.

"We can't all have a terminal illness, some of us die from age."

John Duffy, 84: against

John Duffy is still mourning the death of his beloved wife.

"We had been married for 50 years and I honestly wouldn't have liked to terminate her life had she needed it," he said.

Mr Duffy believes that all life has meaning.

"While there is life there is hope, I believe in that strongly.

"I remember I had an American friend who used to say, the game is never over until the bat falls off the table."

Winifred Kessey, 85: supports

Winifred Kessey has considered ending her life.

"Sometimes I feel if they could just give me something and I'd put it in my drink it would be all over no problem," she said.

"It is my choice.

"I have a very bad sore leg which annoys me, and that sort of thing.

"I think people have their own right to say whether they are going to stay or they want to go."