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Nitschke's euthanasia conference promotes suicide - 29 May 2003

Philip Nitschke should demonstrate at his euthanasia conference this weekend why his deplorable efforts to increase Australia’s suicide rate deserve support, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, Mary Joseph said today.

Dr Nitschke’s “Exit Australia” group will hold a euthanasia conference titled “Killing me softly: love, death and dying in Australia”, Friday 30 May to Sunday 1 June in Sydney.

“Suicides account for the deaths of more than 2400 Australians every year. It is a national tragedy that so many people are so desperate and have so little hope and support that they take their own lives. Until Nitschke, no one in Australia has made a career out of this”, Ms Joseph said.

“Nitschke’s euthanasia clinics provide vulnerable people with the practical knowledge to play out suicidal thoughts.”

In another demonstration of Dr Nitschke's public relations acumen, Nitschke will demonstrate his carbon monoxide suicide machine “for the first time” – for the fourth time running. Nitschke first launched the machine in Townsville in December last year, before relaunching it in San Diego in January this year and demonstrating it in New Zealand in April. The machine is an alternative to connecting a hose to a car exhaust and filling the car with carbon monoxide.

This follows a similar pattern to Nitschke’s announcing the imminent creation of his much promoted suicide pill in November 1997, February 1998, June 1998, July 1998, May 1999, August 1999 and no doubt on other occasions. Fortunately he has never been able to produce this suicide pill, which he says should be available to anyone, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved and troubled teenagers.

“Nitschke’s carbon monoxide suicide machine will allow people to kill themselves in the privacy and isolation of their own homes. Their despair will go unanswered.

“Rather than Nitschke’s headlong rush to promote death as a solution, we need a compassionate response to address suffering. We don’t need a machine to help more people to commit suicide faster.”

Contact:    Mary Joseph, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, telephone 02 6253 3100