Lyle Shelton, Managing Director

News has broken today that the Medical Board of Australia has suspended the registration of euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke.

Yet again, he has been associated with the suicide of non-terminally ill people.

Other investigations and processes are continuing and Dr Nitschke may well be reinstated.

But for the time being “in the interests of public safety and managing risks to patients”, he is suspended.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett and chairman of Beyond Blue welcomed the suspension but nonetheless supports euthanasia.

Mr Kennett thinks a “properly defined” legislative process could be put in place to facilitate euthanasia for the terminally ill.

The Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris expressed similar thoughts this week.

There have been umpteen parliamentary inquiries in recent years into euthanasia, mainly inspired by the Greens who rate achieving euthanasia legislation as one of their top priorities.

They have yet another bill in the Australian Senate right now.

Like former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, state parliamentarians grappling with euthanasia have never been able to find a way to make the practice safe from abuse of the vulnerable.

They have also not been convinced that modern palliative care cannot address most of the concerns of the terminally ill.

Hence, euthanasia legislation continues to be rejected when put under rigorous parliamentary scrutiny.

When asked by the ABC what my message to Senator Peris would be, I suggested she take a look at the reasons why State parliamentary inquiries continue to reject it (I didn’t ‘hit out’ as the headline breathtakingly says and wish Senator Peris no malice).

Dr Nitschke appears regularly at these inquiries and at the 2009 Tasmanian inquiry admitted he broke the law when euthanasia was briefly legal in the Northern Territory in the mid 1990s.

I spoke about this and other dangers of euthanasia during a debate with Dr Nitschke at the University of New South Wales in 2011.

As we contemplate Dr Nitschke’s suspension, people might be interested in reading my talk which was given in his presence.

He was none too pleased when he spoke after me but refuted none of it.