Reason to thank Dr. Nitschke

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 this 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!