We talked – at the Canberra Writers’s Festival.

We challenged –  each other and policy makers…

 …to help improve the way end-of-life services are delivered in this country. But we – both the panel and the audience – shared deeply personal stories, starting with that of our wonderful interviewer Melissa Reader. She interviewed Dr Suharsha Kanathigoda, Director of Palliative Care, ACT, and me.

Melissa explained to the audience that she and her first husband were completely unprepared for the process of dying, both the spiritual and medical experiences that they would confront along the way, when he died of cancer. This changed the course of Melissa’s life and she began to help people in this space, becoming CEO of the organisation LifeCircle which later became Violet.

Our talk was fully booked and sold out a few weeks before, which shows people do want to talk about this most challenging subject – if they’re given the right opportunity and the right environment to express themselves.

What an extraordinary gift Melissa has for asking questions about deep complex questions, yet in a way that encourages people to trust and to share their experiences with a large audience.

Our discussion touched on the very important subject of assisted dying legislation. I was pleased about this. Whatever our positions on assisted death, it is important that we take the opportunity to think about this topic and formulate our positions with quality information and data.

Violet: “Is working to drive significant change around dying and death in Australia. Our services are designed to guide the thousands of people who are caring for someone who is dying, as they live through the experience. We help families and friends learn how better to fulfil the wishes of the person who is dying and to make the most of their time together.” To find out more about Violet, go to:

Dr Suharsha Kanathigoda has developed the Shanthi Foundation to develop palliative care programs throughout the world, especially in developing nations. To find out more, go to:

To listen to Melissa discuss what brought her to her work at Violet watch this.

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