May 30, 2024

Euthanasia as a finance policy

Australia goes to the polls in two weeks time. Election night is always one of the highlights of the year for me, but this time I’ll be following closely the fortunes of a new party which is fielding candidates in New South Wales, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the nation’s capital. This is the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, headed by activist Dr Philip Nitschke.

The VEP is clearly a single issue party and has no chance of winning, but Dr Nitschke’s vision extends beyond medical ethics to economics and finance. Writing in the Canberra Times recently, he argued that voluntary euthanasia would be useful little good cost-cutter at a time when governments everywhere are tightening their belts.

This is a policy which he has been advocating since 2005. “While no one in the Voluntary Euthanasia Party is an economist, and no one is saying we should put people down against their will,” he writes, “we are suggesting it is a worthwhile debate to have – especially if hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in the health budget could be saved or redirected.”

I cannot honestly say that I am one of Dr Nitschke’s fans. But I do admire his candour. You always know what he thinks. I wonder how many others support dying with dignity for the reason he has so forthrightly proposed.


Michael Cook
Like a character out of Dickens, Philip Nitschke continues in his bizarre campaign.