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Tributes flow for Queensland MP Duncan Pegg

Politics

Queensland Labor MP Duncan Pegg has died of cancer weeks after urging colleagues to seek the views of terminally ill people before deciding on euthanasia laws.

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Pegg died just seven weeks after telling parliament he would not survive.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the death of her friend and colleague on Thursday, saying the Stretton MP had shown great courage during his 18-month battle with the disease.

During his last major address to parliament, Pegg urged fellow MPs to listen to people with terminal illnesses before deciding whether to support the introduction of voluntary assisted dying laws in Queensland.

“He battled cancer with incredible bravery and grace,” the premier said in a statement.

“He was the common thread that united so many groups in his community. He loved them. And they loved him.

“He showed politics could be a force for good. It was an honour to call him my friend.”

Opposition leader David Crisafulli said the cricket-mad MP would be missed by many and that he fought cancer with “the same tenacity as he did for his community and values”.

The Stretton MP was first elected in January 2015, after a campaign that was launched by then federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

“A wonderful man and politician who has left us too soon,” Shorten tweeted on Thursday. “I held him in the highest esteem. What a tragedy.”

Pegg died just shy of his 41st birthday. In late April he told parliament he would formally submit his resignation.

During that speech he urged colleagues to seek out the views of terminally ill people before deciding whether or not they should be given the legal right to an assisted death in Queensland.

“Let’s be very clear, people with terminal illnesses don’t want to die, they want to live. They fight to live every day. I personally fight to live every day,” he told them.

“However, if you are diagnosed terminal then ultimately you are going to face death. People with terminal illnesses won’t have an option.

“I will not tell members how to vote your conscience, but before making a decision I encourage every MP in this place to make sure they speak to and listen to people with terminal illnesses and their families.”

Queensland parliament will vote on legalising euthanasia for terminally ill people in September.

Pegg was awarded the Queensland Public Service Award from the Queensland Intercultural Society for his community work in 2017.

Prior to being elected, he worked as a lawyer with a focus on employment and insurance law.

Those who want to pay tribute to the MP have been asked not to send flowers and instead make a donation to the Cancer Council Queensland.

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