Nitschke roadshow - it's a business after all

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

This article was published on the Hope Australia website on June 5, 2016

By Paul Russell 

The director of Hope Australia & Vice Chair of EPC - International

It seems that it isn't enough to provide people with information on how to get an illegal euthanasia drug sent to people from overseas; now Philip Nitschke and Exit want to provide tests so that people will know that what came in the mail will 'do the job'.

News reports about Exit's meeting in Canberra, Australia seem to suggest that this is something new. I suppose there has to be a hook here; a reason for the article. The reality is that Nitschke has been doing this now for sometime. If there's a twist it is that the article talks about learning to test the drug at home whereas previously Nitschke had testing apparatus in the back of a small van.

That van was also a delivery vehicle for 'Max Dog' nitrogen cylinders - another of Nitschke's semi-do-it-yourself suicide methods. He's also been working in Switzerland on a new mechanised death-delivery system he calls 'The Destiny Machine' which was also 'demonstrated' at his comedy shows in Edinburgh and most recently in Melbourne.

Suicide is clearly big business! I have always thought it odd that the media paints Nitschke as a 'euthanasia activist' when, in reality, his business model is built on selling suicide or 'self-deliverance' while legal euthanasia would likely curtail his sales figures somewhat by getting doctors and pharmacy involved. But somehow, when there's a sick or disabled person involved, or even someone who expects to become sick or disabled, it is suddenly not about suicide.

Link to the full article

Better off dead? What Peter Singer doesn't get about disability and euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week Peter Singer, the bioethicist from Princeton University debated Anthony Fisher the Archbishop of Sydney Australia. Singer, who has published books supporting euthanasia, assisted suicide and infanticide, faced strong criticism from the disability rights community.

Today, Craig Wallace, the convenor of Lives Worth Living, a disability advocacy group speaking out about euthanasia and eugenics, and is the president of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), was published by Crickey with an article explaining why the disability rights movement opposes Singer's philosophy and why they oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Wallace explains:

If proponents of voluntary euthanasia were looking to reassure us that legalised suicide would, in fact, be voluntary and not about people with disabilities, they chose the wrong standard bearer. Singer is consistently on the record supporting infanticide of babies with certain disabilities. In his book Practical Ethics, Singer argues the case for selective infanticide. He believes it unfair that:  
“At present parents can choose to keep or destroy their disabled offspring only if the disability happens to be detected during pregnancy. There is no logical basis for restricting parents’ choice to these particular disabilities. If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant’s condition than is possible before birth.” 
Singer may not be “poised, needle in hand” ready to plunge it into the arm of the nearest disabled person. It is, nonetheless, difficult to stick to topic when a person who thinks it might have been a good idea to “destroy” you as a child offers you a whisky shot glass and a pistol in latter days. Forgive us for having trust issues.

Wallace challenges the euthanasia lobby that if euthanasia is mean't to be truly voluntary and not about disability, why don't they define the laws in that way?

Link to the full article

Craig Wallace - Testimony to Australian Senate Inquiry

By Craig Wallace

                              Craig Wallace

                              Craig Wallace

On Friday, 3 October 2014 Lives Worth Living Convenor Craig Wallace addressed the Senate Inquiry into the Exposure draft of the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill 2014. This is the prepared text of our opening remarks to the Inquiry:

Firstly Senators thank you for this opportunity to give evidence here today and also for accepting a late and brief submission.

It’s been an interesting and busy time in the disability community in the aftermath of the Budget and our advocacy on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

If it is helpful I might talk a little bit about where we come from and then perhaps fill out a bit of detail around the bill.

Link to the full article

Nitschke - The fallout and the problem with the few

By Craig Wallace, the convenor of the disability rights group Lives Worth Living Australia.

                               Craig Wallace

                               Craig Wallace

In The Age (Melbourne) back in August Ian Maddocks, Emeritus Professor of Palliative Care at Flinders University and Senior Australian of the Year 2013, wrote a reflective piece arising out of the decision of the Medical Board of Australia to use emergency powers to immediately suspend the then Dr Phillip Nitschke, after he admitted to supporting 45-year-old Perth man Nigel Brayley in his decision to commit suicide despite knowing he was not terminally ill.

Professor Maddocks intelligent piece crystallises a dilemma faced by euthanasia advocates in the wake of the Nitschke deregistration as they attempt to craft a new argument for medically assisted dying based on process, nuance and evidence, not just the wielding of emotion or the idea of suicide as the exercise of a personal right. There are lessons here too for the anti-euthanasia lobby which has sometimes equally allowed itself to be painted into a corner with black and white arguments founded in dogma.

Link to the full article