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Queensland Labor MP Duncan Pegg, 40, dies after cancer battle

Jun 10, 2021
Qld Labor MP Duncan Pegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. Source: Duncan Pegg/Twitter

Queensland Labor MP Duncan Pegg has died from cancer aged 40. His death comes seven weeks after he quit politics to focus on his cancer battle. In his resignation speech, he told his colleagues in the Queensland parliament “he would not survive” the cancer.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced his death in a statement on Thursday.

“I join with Lindsey, Graham and the Pegg family in expressing my deep sadness over the loss of my friend, Duncan Pegg,” she wrote on Facebook. “He battled cancer with incredible bravery and grace. I know this news will be felt particularly in Duncan’s electorate of Stretton. He was the common thread that united so many groups in his community. He loved them. And they loved him. Duncan’s work in the parliament earned respect across the political divide. He showed politics could be a force for good. It was an honour to call him my friend.”

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: “Vale Duncan Pegg. A wonderful man and politician who has left us too soon. A terrible loss for his family, friends and the ALP. I had the pleasure of launching Duncan’s 2015 campaign launch and helping him again more recently. I held him in the highest esteem. What a tragedy.”

Pegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. In an emotional speech to Queensland Parliament in April this year, he announced he was stepping away from politics to focus on his health. Pegg also used his final speech to bring attention to voluntarily assisted dying and urged fellow MPs to go visit those with terminally-ill diseases. Queensland is set to make a decision later this year.

I speak as someone who has been fighting cancer for 18 months, regularly attends a cancer centre, and regularly speaks to cancer patients with a terminal illness,” he said at the time, The Courier Mail reported.

“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 and there are so many positive stories of people successfully fighting cancer.

“However, if you are diagnosed terminal, then ultimately you are going to face death. People with terminal illnesses want to have an option.”

At the time, former prime minister Kevin Rudd applauded his efforts, writing: “Sad to see @DuncanPeggMP resigning from politics. He’s fought like hell for his constituents while simultaneously fighting cancer. Best wishes to you, Duncan, for the battles ahead.

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