Now that’s a headline direct from the ‘now that I’ve got your attention’ files!

I never thought I’d be giving a bouquet
to ‘doctor death’. After all, there’s nothing that he has said or done
in the public eye that I find the least bit agreeable (except, perhaps,
the recent picture of his visit with his mother).

But Dr. Nitschke has in fact, done us a
favour by his grandstanding about setting up  a ‘killing centre’ in
Adelaide to take advantage of what he no doubt hopes will be the
successful passage of the Key bill through the SA parliament.

I find it difficult to take Nitschke
seriously. While I was in Hobart he was pulling the same stunt down
there and he’s also tried it in the UK. You may recall that he once
suggested that a ‘death ship’ could sail outside Australian territorial
waters and provide a ‘service on the high seas’. (Visions of Nitschke as
Captain Jack Sparrow!)

But Nitschke is also seen as ‘extreme’
by advocates of euthanasia. The people at the South Australian
Euthanasia Society (unfortunate acronym: SAVES) have seen fit to
distance themselves from poor old ‘Dr. Death’ on their website.
Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, who is pushing for euthanasia in the
Apple Isle also distanced herself from Dr. Nitschke (see ABC 7.30 Report).  And now South Australian pro-euthanasia MPs have said that his visit was ‘definitely counterproductive’.

In The Advertiser
article last week, an un-named MP said that his visit to SA was “the
worst possible thing which could happen,” adding: “He has done a lot of
damage to the argument”.

Opposition Health Spokesman and
euthanasia advocate, Duncan McFetridge also weighed in on the discussion
saying, “He (Nitschke) has not done this particular Bill any good at
all. He is going to make it hard for us to get these people (possible
supporters) back on side.”

McFetridge also claimed that, “It is not
a Bill aimed at stand-alone so-called death clinics.” (Indeed; it is
actually aimed at patients; but I digress.) Whilst it may be true to say
that the bill’s drafters may not have been thinking of a ‘killing
centre’, the bill actually would allow for such a place to exist; such
is the lack of anything resembling safeguards and directives. (Shades of
Ludwig Minelli and body bags in elevators at Dignitas in Switzerland!)

So, Nitschke, it seems, is ‘bad for
business’ if you’re pushing a euthanasia bill and even more so when said
bill actually fulfils his dark prophecy.

The same article closes by quoting the
bill’s mover, Steph Key who said that people needed to put Dr Nitschke’s
efforts into context. Thank you, Ms Key; I think we just did!

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