RENOWNED Australian scientist David Goodall flew to Europe on Wednesday for assisted suicide in Switzerland, renewing public debate in the country about euthanasia.
The 104-year-old – who is Australia’s oldest scientist – boarded a plane in Perth wearing a top reading “ageing disgracefully”, surrounded by his friends and family saying their final goodbyes.
Goodall does not have a terminal illness but his quality of life has deteriorated and he has secured a fast-track appointment with assisted dying agency Life Circle in Basel.
He will spend several days with other family in Bordeaux, France, before heading to Switzerland where he is due to end his life on May 10. Euthanasia advocacy organisation Exit International helped him raise AU$20,000 (US$15,000) to cover his travel costs.
“David Goodall isn’t sick, but wants to die. Australia will not allow him to access the drugs to achieve this, but Switzerland does, and he will leave his home in Perth to die overseas today,” tweeted Exit International founder Philip Nitschke. “The world is changing but Australia lags badly.”
“I don’t want to go to Switzerland, though it’s a nice country,” Goodall told the national broadcaster ABC News before leaving. “But I have to do that in order to get the opportunity of suicide which the Australian system does not permit. I feel very resentful.”
Victoria last year became the first Australian state to legalise assisted dying, however because he is not terminally ill he is not eligible.
“I would like them to understand it,” Goodall added. “I am 104 years old so I haven’t got much time left anyway … I might as well not have (my health) getting worse and worse, making me unhappy as it goes.”
Additional reporting from AFP.