Dr Philip Nitschke visits the Highlands

Dr Philip Nitchske. Photo: FDC
Dr Philip Nitchske. Photo: FDC

Dr Philip Nitschke was the first doctor in the world to perform an assisted suicide under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT).

And on Saturday, the Exit International director will be in the Highlands as part of his Australian workshop tour.

The national tour will include regional areas where demand is high for him to present “peaceful, reliable solutions for end-of-life for the elderly and seriously ill”.

Bundanoon’s Quest for Life founder Petrea King said she expected Dr Nitchske would receive a warm welcome.

“There’s been a huge interest in the area of euthanasia, death and grief and how to live with loss,” she said.

“Once you’re educated and informed you can make better decisions.”

Ms King said conversations around death and loss were positive, as it took away the fear which often surrounds the issue.

“It takes a certain level of maturity and courage to focus on something we’re all going to face. It’s good to be as informed as possible as we approach our own death.”

The Mittagong workshop follows the voting down of an assisted dying law in NSW in November 2017, after Australia’s first assisted dying law was passed in 20 years.

Exit International legal director, Tasha Russell, described it as a law that is “so restrictive that it helps no one”. Ms Russell said the non-passage of legislation and restrictive legislation did not stop people from making their own end-of-life choices, but merely pushed these matters to be undertaken in secret.

“When we don’t allow the elderly and seriously ill to make their own end of life decisions, we merely force people to take matters into their own hands. This can lead to violent deaths for those who aren’t aware of their options, but even for those who do know their options, it means people are dying in secretive circumstances, alone, in an effort to not implicate loved ones.”

The Mittagong workshop will be held from 1-4pm on February 10 at Colo Vale Community Centre, 28 Railway Avenue, Colo Vale. 

Visit  https://exitinternational.net/meetings/workshops/ for the full itinerary for the Exit Australian workshop series.