Dr Philip Nitschke, the veteran Australian activist for the right to suicide, is back in the news again. A feature in The Australian revealed that 72-year-old Annah Faulkner, a prize-winning Australian novelist, killed herself after seeking advice from Dr Nitschke’s organisation, Exit International. She also left, according to her brother, a “not inconsiderable legacy” to Exit International.
A long suicide note by Ms Faulkner was posted on the website of Exit International. In it she explains that her life lost all meaning after her husband’s death last year. “It’s as if I’m sitting in an empty classroom, waiting for a teacher who has gone, and will never return. My life is over, and for me, that is perfectly okay. There is nothing left I want to do.”
Only Dr Nitschke’s contacts understood her, she complained. “If not for my friends at Exit International I would be unspeakably lonely. Ironically, I have never met a more vibrant, funny, intelligent, alive group of people in my life.”
Echoing Dr Nitschke’s well-honed argument that everyone has a right to die whenever they want, Ms Faulkner describes laws against assisting suicide as “sanctimonious, outdated and cruel”.
Obviously Dr Nitschke believes that there is a growing market for comfortable suicides. An editor for the Exit International website commented that The Australian’s article failed to understand “the global end of life choices debate: how will the world deal with the post-70s generation (formerly the baby boomers) who say they have had enough and that now is the time to go”.
Dr Nitschke, currently a resident of the Netherlands, is about to undertake a long tour of Australia and New Zealand extending into 2023 to promote his preferred methods of committing suicide painlessly and effectively.