Daughter’s plea to Premier as union boss dad dies in ‘agony’

 

 

The daughter of "iconic" union boss Peter Simpson has taken aim at Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for failing to pass the euthanasia legislation her late father desperately wanted.

Mr Simpson, state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union Qld NT until 2016, died on Thursday morning after a highly publicised battle with melanoma. He was 57.

"We will not heal from this, and this is why assisted dying needs to be passed in Queensland," Kalee Simpson wrote in an impassioned Facebook post.

Peter Simpson wanted the right to die with dignity. Photo: Liam Kidston.
Peter Simpson wanted the right to die with dignity. Photo: Liam Kidston.

"Watching this heavy set full of life man waste away in agony, it's just not fair.

"He should have had options to go the way he saw fit," Ms Simpson said.

"Instead, his life was drawn out in agony for the past year.

"While I'm grateful to have spent this time with Dad, I wished he got the dying wish of seeing Annastacia passing assisted dying through the government."

Ms Simpson said she prayed that after this "great loss" Ms Palaszczuk, whom she said was friends with her father, would act on the legislation to prevent another family suffering.

In June, while deeply unwell, Mr Simpson made a heartfelt plea to the Premier to legalise euthanasia.

 

It's with a heavy heart to inform you all that dad aka simmo Poppy has passed on over night, With his beautiful wife...

Posted by Kalee Simpson on Wednesday, 23 September 2020

 

"I've led my life with dignity, why the hell do I want to go out any other way? I want to go out on my terms," Mr Simpson said in a video posted to ETU's Facebook.

"When you get to the stage where you got no tools left in the toolbox, your body's telling you what's going on and you don't want to put your family through anymore trauma, this is the only option as far as I'm concerned and I'd be pushing strongly for it," he said.

Despite Mr Simpson's public campaign, supported by other Labor stalwarts including backbencher Shane King, Ms Palaszczuk has delayed any potential legislation ahead of the October 31 election.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has delayed potential legislation around euthanasia. Photo: Annette Dew
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has delayed potential legislation around euthanasia. Photo: Annette Dew

ETU state secretary Peter Ong said "Simmo" would be remembered for his commitment to the value of a fair go, and his enormous contribution for workers over several decades.

"Simmo stood up for our members and all Queenslanders and their future when he campaigned against privatisation of public assets, he was a warrior for the working class and will be greatly missed by our union family," Mr Ong said.

An ETU protest outside magistrates court in 2014.
An ETU protest outside magistrates court in 2014.

ETU State Assistant Secretary Stuart Traill said Simmo was also willing to "be counted on issues some see as not union business".

"He campaigned hard against the nuclear industry, he was a champion for Indigenous rights and despised discrimination and warned against the rise of white supremacy," Mr Traill said.

CFMEU Queensland president Royce Kupsch described him as a "once in a lifetime iconic union leader".

Raised in the NSW country town of Harden, Mr Simpson began his union journey as a 17-year-old apprentice trainee linesman with the South West County Council in Young. He moved to Queensland to be an overhead linesman at SEQEB Stafford in 1991.

He took over as ETU state secretary in 2009, a position he held for seven years until resigning due his diagnosis with terminal cancer.

Mr Simpson is survived by his wife Penny Tovey and their children and grandchildren.

In June, Ms Tovey said her husband was the bravest man she'd met.

"My reality is that I'm going to watch my husband probably die in a lot of pain," she said.

"His tumours are now in his bones, in his muscles and in his major organs.

"It's not the right choice for everyone and it's not going to make more people die if we change the laws, all it's doing is just giving people the choice."

Originally published as Daughter's plea to Premier after union boss father dies in 'agony'


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