by Inge Hansen
MARJORIE Lawrence does not fear death.
However, she knows death could knock on her door at any moment having lived with terminal pancreatic cancer for the last four years despite being told she only had months to live.
What Marjorie does fear is those with terminal illnesses having no choice but to spend the last weeks or months of their lives suffering, which is why she is pushing for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia.
"We need a law that will allow doctors to give everyone that choice," the great-grandmother and committee member of Dying with Dignity Queensland told the Chronicle.
"I don't want to lose my dignity and self respect - I want to die as I've lived with those things in tact.
"Only 5 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for five years and I'm making medical history at the moment because it's four years since my operation and I've got 11 months to go."
Marj's fight for her right to end her life on her own terms stems from witnessing two of her brothers, her mother, husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law slowly deteriorate from illness.
"It's a terrible death, pancreatic cancer. It's one of those cancers where the pain can't be controlled in the last stages," she said.
"I have three beautiful, caring daughters but they all have their own lives and they all have grandchildren who take their time.
"I wouldn't let my family give up their life to look after me."
Do you believe voluntary euthanasia laws should be introduced for the terminally ill?
This poll ended on 28 September 2017.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
A bill to legalise euthanasia was introduced in the Victorian and New South Wales State parliaments last week, as well as proposals for new criminal offences to prevent abuse.
Under the proposed laws, people would only be able to access voluntary euthanasia if they make three clear requests, have two medical assessments and meet the strict criteria.
Since the Northern Territory's voluntary euthanasia laws were overturned in 1977 by the Federal Parliament, no state parliament has passed similar legislation - something DWD QLD president, Jos Hall wants to see changed.
"We're working very hard to have a bill introduced to Queensland State Parliament within the next parliamentary term to allow Queenslanders who meet a strict criteria to have the opportunity to end their lives in a peaceful, dignified and legal way," Ms Hall said.
"When people know voluntarily euthanasia is available, it relaxes them because they know it's there.
"Not having the option for euthanasia in Queensland means people are taking their lives much earlier because for people who, for instance, have Multiple Sclerosis, they need to be able to do this while they can still move their hands and swallow properly.
"We should be working together with those working in palliative care.
According to DWD QLD, 16 state MPs publicly support the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia, although the list does not include Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders, when asked he said he was in favour of voluntary euthanasia. Controversy surrounds the topic, with many saying the legislation was unethical.
Many argue voluntary euthanasia gives too much power to doctors and is the start of a slippery slope which could lead to involuntary euthanasia or unnecessary pressure placed upon those suffering to end their lives.
Exit International founder, Dr Philip Nitschke, said the length of time taken to consider the laws was "an embarrassment".
Dr Nitschke was the first doctor in the world to administer a legal, voluntary, lethal injection.
In 1996 he was successful in his campaign to have euthanasia legalised in the Northern Territory and assisted four people in ending their lives before the law was overturned in 1997.
He said the number of safeguards put in place made it more difficult for those suffering.
"(The government) is trying to make people who are so sick jump through so many hoops to prove they're eligible and it's cruel," Dr Nitschke told the Chronicle.