This article was published on the HOPE Australia website on March 12, 2015.
By Paul Russell, Director of HOPE Australia.
Never far from the news it seems the ABC Alice Springs reports today that the Northern Territory Branch of the Australian Medical Association has expelled Philip Nitschke from its ranks.
This news comes immediately after the death of Nitschke's legal council last week. Peter Nugent QC was, according to reports, suffering from stage four cancer but was not understood to be near death. Nitschke told Fairfax Media that Nugent “had options in place” for ending his own life. He also said that Nugent's death was 'perplexing' and 'a great loss'.
Nugent had been acting pro bono for Nitschke in the matter of the suspension of Nitschke's medical licence in July last year after questions were raisied about whether or not he (Nitschke) should have referred a suicidal Perth man for counselling when he had approached Nitschke via email and in person.
The suspension was heard in the Northern Territory Health Professional Review Tribunal in November last year. The suspension, upheld at that juncture, continues pending the hearing of a dozen complaints to the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency about the activities of Exit and Philip Nitschke (including one complaint from this writer).
Nitschke has lodged an appeal to the original suspension and that hearing is listed for the Supreme Court in Darwin in early April.