A Tasmanian academic has commended independent MLC Mike Gaffney for his voluntary assisted dying bill - saying it is one of the most widely consulted ever.
Political scientist Professor Richard Herr said while the legislation was not being scrutinised by a parliamentary committee Mr Gaffney was organising community forums and inviting feedback.
"Importantly here is an independent upper house member doing what upper house members can do by introducing a bill, Professor Herr said.
"He's not filtering out what a party tells him to, he's not subject to a party whip.
"The political parties have a stranglehold on the agenda but he is showing that independents can bring in a bill that the community wants.
"He's got energy and passion."
Mr Gaffney is pleased with the turnout at the first week of forums which are being held across the state and on King and Flinders islands.
At the forums, he explains his working life as a teacher, assistant principal, mayor and MLC and his family background.
He details the parliamentary process for the 104 page bill and stresses he has no personal story to tell - he just wants people to have a choice to end their life if they are suffering intolerable pain.
At the forum in Hobart, attended by more than 60 people, Natalie and Jacqui Gray read from their late mother Diane's journal.
"I pray you and your families will never have to endure a situation similar to ours, but in reality unless you do, you'll never have enough understanding or empathy to help legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying in Tasmania," Ms Gray wrote.
"Sit with me during the last few days of my life, look me in the eyes, deny me of ending my suffering while my withered away body convulses in pain... there is nothing humane about this ending... this is not my life or my body anymore, I am a shell and you have taken control of me.
"Let us live the last chapter of our lives fearlessly, knowing we can end our own suffering and despair! .
"There is a difference between suicide and VAD.
"I do not want to die. I am dying..."
The Gray girls are campaigning in support of the bill which would have helped their mother end her pain and suffering after being diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2018.
They have set up a website foritforsiey and have started a statewide petition to be tabled in Parliament calling for voluntary assisted dying legislation.
In her journal Ms Gray said cancer took away her choices and left her family broken.
"Cancer took so many of my choices away from me 11 months ago and now in the final weeks of my life I have no choice other than to accept my torturous fate," she said.
"I can accept dying. I cannot accept dying a slow death in intolerable pain."
Professor Herr praised Mr Gaffney's approach and said he was acting on growing community support for assisted dying laws.
"It is better that it is told in a rational way by someone who doesn't have a story to sell," he said.
"If it passes the Legislative Council when it gets to the lower house the question for them will be why stop it?"
Many of those attending forums, including men have been reduced to tears, and for Mr Gaffney this reinforces the need for legislation.
"Some people are obviously emotionally fatigued and/or physically drained," he said.
"Many are either reflecting on past events in their life, or experiencing current pain or indeed some are fearful of what the immediate future holds.
"There are others forum participants who have spoken to me about the impact of their partner, friend or mate who chose to end the suffering through suicide.
"Many of those who committed suicide perhaps did not realize or appreciate the devastating impacts of that decision on those left behind."
The outpourings of emotion take a toll but Mr Gaffney understands the pain people are experiencing.
"Tasmanians should have the right to choose voluntary assisted dying if they are eligible," he said.
"I have individuals who walk up to me at the end of the forum with tears in their eyes and thank me - that's difficult.
"However, it is much more difficult for me when I have two people approach, both holding back their tears to be strong for each other and instinctively I know that one of the pair is in a very bad way or may not have long to live - that situation is not easy.
"However it is most important that I stay in control of my own feelings and respond to the questions appropriately and objectively.
"I would be lying however if I said it's not draining emotionally but I usually keep my emotions in check until I get back to my room."
Not surprisingly not everyone attending a forum is supportive of the bill.
"There may have been a couple of minor instances where some of the comments have been directed at me personally but I genuinely understand and acknowledge that for some people change is never easy especially if it challenges their beliefs and values," Mr Gaffney said.
"I make it quite clear at the beginning of the forum that I am not there to convince people but primarily to inform.
"I also acknowledge that there may be those who are philosophically opposed to the concept of Voluntary Assisted Dying regardless of how the Bill is written.
"Whilst, I appreciate their viewpoint it is not one I can agree."
Already about 200 people have attended the forums with more in coming weeks.and Mr Gaffney hopes he may be able to present the Tasmania's three university campuses in the coming months.
His private member's bill will be introduced int the Legislative Council in August this year.
The petition can be found at: http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/EPetitions/House/CurrentEPetition.aspx?PetNum=80