Diane continued activities inside and out of Parliament, aligned with the Noongar values of kart, koort and wirrin, during an emotional week that addressed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834.
The VAD Bill passed the Second Reading vote in the Legislative Council by 25 to 10 on Wednesday. During the previous evening’s session, Diane took the opportunity to speak on this important piece of legislation. Diane highlighted the importance of representation in this matter, with 84% of West Australians in support of the Bill.
The week was bookended by two community events with a strong focus on Noongar culture, firstly at Koolbardies Talking, a local women’s group in the City of Mandurah serving as a meeting place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, providing an opportunity to share stories and change public perceptions. This was followed on Saturday by a more solemn affair, as Diane was invited to speak at the Bindjareb Boodja memorial commemoration of the Pinjarra massacre.
In other matters of ongoing significance, on Tuesday the Environmental Protection Authority agreed to proposal changes by the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative. The proposal change “clarified” that 9.3 gigalitres of water will be taken from the Donnelly River annually, an increase on the previous 9 gigalitres, despite the removal of a dam the proponents alleged would not have existed in the first place. Diane remains opposed to a water trading scheme that is wildly inequitable, will threaten native forests and will not a provide solution to water allocation that serves community interests. A full Public Environmental Review is to come, Diane will encourage public submissions when this period opens.
Meanwhile on Friday, ABC South West reported that WA’s biggest native hardwood processor, Auswest Timbers, is accused of ‘wasting’ thousands of tonnes of jarrah logs. Diane continues to support the significant work done by WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) in this matter, with her office liaising between constituents, WAFA and Parliament regarding these practices at Auswest Timbers for some time. The native timber industry remains poorly managed by the Forest Products Commission, who are not up to the task of preventing unethical practices.
Elsewhere, Diane continued the busy work of Legislative Council proceedings and attending the meeting of the Select Committee into Local Government, prior to returning to Parliament for the third and final sitting week of October.
Today, Diane met Perth woman Belinda Teh, who has been walking across the South West Region campaigning for voluntary assisted dying.
Beginning in Victoria, Belinda arrived at Parliament House on today after 70-day journey. Her arrival coincides with the introduction of a Voluntary euthanasia bill to be introduced into Western Australian Parliament.
Diane and her The Greens (WA) colleagues acknowledge Western Australia has a unique opportunity to finally allow for compassion, dignity and respect for terminally ill people, and that it is people like Belinda who give so much and campaign so hard for change.
Hon. Diane Evers MLC for the South West Region of Western Australia
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia