By Paul Russell - Director, Hope Australia
Today (10th November 2014) in Darwin, Northern Territory, hearings began into the suspension of the medical licence to practice of Philip Nitschke, director of Exit International. Earlier, Nitschke had successfully challenged that the hearings should take place in the jurisdiction where he was registered; namely, the Northern Territory.
Nitschke’s medical practice licence was originally temporarily suspended following the death of Perth man, Nigel Brayley and the revelations contained in the ABC TV report concerning Nitschke’s relationship to Brayley prior to his suicide.
As the Guardian explained:
“The board said at the time it took the interim action to “keep the public safe while other investigations or processes continue”. This week’s hearing does not relate to those investigations.”
The hearings this week concern only the matter of Nitschke’s licence to practice. The now twelve complaints to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, including yours truly’s complaint from 27 months ago, are separate matters.
Nitschke’s defence counsel has attempted to make the issue in the court about the question of so-called ‘rational’ suicide. This has been Nitschke’s defensive line since the Brayley matter became public. Counsel for the Medical Board, Lisa Chapman said that this ‘misses the point’.