A law degree might come in handy in ways that could surprise you. Just ask UWA Law School alumna Belinda Teh.
Belinda graduated from The University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce in 2016. Eight days after completing her Law degree, she received the news that her mother had terminal breast cancer.
As a patient in a specialist palliative care facility, Belinda’s mother Mareia asked her doctors twice for help to die but was denied because assisted dying was (and still is) not a legal option.
Belinda is now on a journey to bring attention to the Voluntary Assisted Dying bill by walking from Melbourne to Perth.
“Walking from Melbourne to Perth symbolises for me the way our journey to life’s end should be – long and arduous, sometimes painful, yes, but supported all the way by empathetic, loving people who reflect on what it might be like to walk in the shoes of others.”
Law reform through a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill
Western Australia is currently on a law reform journey, with the state parliament expected to debate a Voluntary Assisted Dying bill in the second half of the year.
"This is a once-in-a-generation chance to change the law in WA so that what happened to my mum doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Belinda said.
She believes the public’s overwhelming support for the law − 86% according to the last opinion poll − is both a blessing and a curse.
“There’s a risk people have become complacent because they think passing this law is a ‘no brainer’,” Belinda said.
“But success is not guaranteed.”
"There are real indications that MPs are not listening to the 86% of people who want this law or the evidence supporting the urgent need, heard by the 18-month parliamentary inquiry,” she warned. “People must make their voice heard if they want this choice not to suffer.”
"Just when I start to feel a little isolated, I receive another visitor or message of support, and I know I’m not alone.”
Join Belinda on her walk to Parliament House
The 70 day walk will end at Parliament House in Perth on Tuesday 6 August. Meet her at 12pm at Kings Park opposite Fraser’s Restaurant and begin walking to arrive at Parliament House at 1pm.
Until then, follow her journey on Facebook here to see where she’s currently at.
The UWA Law School will be holding a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event about the Voluntary Assisted Dying bill in September.