Euthanasia is back in the Australian headlines again. This time a maverick parliamentarian in South Australia has used parliamentary privilege to deliver a speech detailing how to commit suicide. Sandra Kanck ignored advice from the state’s chief psychiatrist who had pleaded with her not to proceed. The state Premier, Mike Rann, called her decision "distressing and unforgivable" and took the unprecedented step of expunging her speech from the parliamentary record.
Although it is now illegal in Australia to disseminate suicide information through the internet, Ms Kanck’s speech was immediately made available on a New Zealand website by euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke. In any case, it was basically a promotion of his methods of committing suicide. Nitschke’s new book on suicide methods, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, will be released soon.
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