Philip Nitschke and his beautiful chair 

Multi-millionaire David Walsh’s assault
on the senses in his new Art Museum on the banks of the Derwent river,
Hobart, would seem to be an attempt to offend almost everyone.

From rotting animal carcasses to the
remains of a suicide bomber made from Belgian chocolate and an
‘excrement machine’  that mimics the human body’s waste evacuation
system, there would seem to be something here to shock everyone.

Hardly surprising then that Walsh should
claim that ‘understanding’ of the ‘artworks’ increases as a person’s
alcohol level increases! Mmmm. Replace ‘understanding’ with
‘desensitizing’ and maybe we’re getting closer to the truth.

What drew me to comment on this bizzare
museum, however, was the involvement of Dr. Philip Nitschke in the
event. He had flagged some connection a month or so ago in an oblique
reference on his Exit website. The details of the entire exhibition were
embargoed until the launch date. Hardly surprising.

Nitschke had provided ‘technical help’
to the creator of what must be the most shocking exhibit entitled: My
beautiful chair
by Greg Taylor. This consists of a leather
two-seater lounge chair and an adjacent occasional table supporting a
laptop computer and medical paraphernalia. As described in The Age recently,
this is a ‘fully functioning replica’ of the machine that Nitschke
created to end the life of the four people in the Northern Territory
when the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act was in force.

Visitors are encouraged to ‘put
themselves in the hot seat’ to experience ‘passively’ what the four
people went through in the Northern Territory in the mid nineties.

Nitschke is no stranger to an outrageous
stunt. Something of a walking headline it would seem that he’ll stop at
nothing to promote his ghoulish agenda regardless of the collateral
damage that might be caused. In a nation like Australia where mental
health issues are a major concern and where youth suicide rates are
amongst the worst in the world even the most ardent activist would
surely think twice about such a foolhardy endeavour.

The Age article closed by
noting that the request to Nitschke had come ‘at an opportune time. Dr.
Nitschke and his organisation, Exit International, had been looking
for ways to broaden the debate
.’ (italics added)

How, Dr. Nitschke, does putting the
vulnerable at risk of suicidal ideation (and even death) broaden the

Paul Russell is Director and founder of the
national network
HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia
Assisted Suicide
. Paul has been involved in campaigning and
lobbying on
family and pro-life policy for many years in South Australia and
nationally. This article has been cross-posted from the
Hope website.  

Paul Russell is director and founder of the national network HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide. Paul has been involved in...