Former ACT Legislative Assembly speaker Greg Cornwell has come up with a novel way to push for national death with dignity laws.
He's written a 16,000-word novelette, Twilight - A Nursing Home Mystery - "a story that unashamedly promotes death with dignity, currently practised overseas but not widely in Australia".
"It should be read by anyone who believes competent sick old people have the right to die at a time of their own choosing," he said.
Set in a rural nursing home where the elderly are dying - believed murdered - the book follows steps taken by one member of the home's board to unmask the killer.
The novelette is also an appear for Federal legislation "so all Australians are able to make a choice in life and death decisions".
Mr Cornwell is sending copies of the book to groups sympathetic to the cause, also urging them to start a petition calling for national laws.
The retired Liberal MLA said any euthanasia laws had to be national because "a mess of interstate laws would be a disaster".
"I accept the fact Victoria has done it and Western Australia is doing that. And I respect that," he said.
"But the problem is, we end up with individual laws in individual states and you're back in the same situation years ago when there were different rail gauges across the country and you had to get off at Albury to change to go to Melbourne. It's just madness."
Mr Cornwell, 81, said he had no personal experience of a family member wanting their right to die but had many friends who had seen loved ones suffer, "condemned to a painful often bedridden existence in hospitals and nursing homes".
"I believe we should allow the competent elderly to make a decision whether they live or die," she said.
"If they're lying incontinent in a hospital or nursing home bed, blind, tied to a drip, with cancer, in pain, and have expressed their wish to die, why shouldn't they be allowed to?"
As to what elderly meant, Mr Cornwell said that could be a flexible definition.
"It depends on individual circumstances. There are people who are 95 and very fit. The are other people much younger, in constant chronic pain, and they'd had enough."
Mr Cornwell said he had kept the cost of Twilight as low as possible to ensure it got to as many people as possible. It was free in e-book and $16.95 in Publish on Demand,
"To convince our federal MPS of the strong, country-wide opinion and need for a federal law, I urge a petition be drawn up supporting death with dignity in every federal electorate in Australia and send to the electorate's sitting member," he said.