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Better Off Dead

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#13 Now They're Killing Babies

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Assisted dying has no more committed opponent than the Catholic Church. They have thrown resources, and the full weight of their political influence, against it wherever it has been proposed.

That’s why the words of Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher – one of Australia’s most senior Catholic clerics, and a man who commands the ear of many politicians – are worth listening to.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, at the euthanasia debate with Peter Singer

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, debating ethicist Peter Singer at Sydney Town Hall, 13 August 2015 — Source: YouTube

Listen closely, and what you’ll hear is a masterclass in FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The same seeds sown by opponents of assisted dying to great effect down the years.

What lies inside those little seeds of FUD? In this episode – for the first time – we’re going to find out.

'I think it's almost unheard of that the elderly feel more as a burden and the opposite is true. They feel empowered by this, it strengthens them.'

Joeri Veen, spokesperson for ANBO – a peak body representing the Dutch elderly – discussing the impact of euthanasia laws on ANBO’s members

Please note: this podcast is not about suicide. If you are interested in increasing your understanding of suicide and how to support someone experiencing suicidal ideation, visit the Conversations Matter or beyondblue websites.

If you (or someone you know) require immediate assistance, contact one of the following 24/7 crisis support services: Lifeline (13 11 14), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467), MensLine (1300 78 99 78), beyondblue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or eheadspace (1800 650 890).

Hear more

Better Off Dead: interview with Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally is one of Australia’s best-loved and most successful authors – and a former Catholic seminarian. Here, he discusses the belief of some Catholics that pain can purify, and that suffering redeems the soul.

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In this episode

  • Anthony Fisher
  • Nancy Elliott
  • Catherine Glenn Foster
  • Nick Cooling
  • Alex Schadenberg
  • John Fleming
  • Henk Reitsema
  • Kevin Yuill
  • Joan Hume
  • Illya Soffer
  • Pierre Gyselinck
  • Bob Joondeph
  • Joeri Veen
  • Mie Moerenhout
  • Cheryll Brounstein
  • Eduard Verhagen

Our theme music was composed by Zig Zag Lane for Zapruder's Other Films, and edited by Jon Tjhia. Music used in this episode includes 'Untitled #8 (Popplagith)' (Sigur Rós), 'Hold Me Through' (Luke Howard), 'I Might be Wrong' (Radiohead) and 'Forty-Eight Angels' (Paul Kelly).

Your stories

If you're suffering, or someone you love has died badly – in a hospital, in palliative care, in a nursing home, or at home – add your voice and tell your story here.

Further information

Better Off Dead is produced by Thought Fox and the Wheeler Centre.

Executive producers Andrew Denton and Michael Williams. Producer and researcher Bronwen Reid. For Better Off Dead, the Wheeler Centre team includes Director Michael Williams, Head of Programming Emily Sexton, Head of Marketing and Communications Emily Harms, Projects Producer Amita Kirpalani and Digital Manager Jon Tjhia. Editing, sound design and mix on this episode is by Martin Peralta. Additional editing by Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

Thanks to field producer Emily Sexton, and to Paul Kelly and Sony ATV for the use of his song ‘Forty Eight Angels’.

The series

Subscribe in iTunes, or your favourite podcast app. #betteroffdeadpod

Better Off Dead is produced by Thought Fox in partnership with the Wheeler Centre. It is written and created by Andrew Denton for Thought Fox.


Portrait of Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton is widely recognised as one of Australian media's genuinely creative forces.


All messages as part of this discussion and any opinions, advice, statements, or other information contained in any messages or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not the Wheeler Centre.

Better Off Dead

Andrew Denton investigates the stories, moral arguments and individuals woven into discussions about why good people are dying bad deaths in Australia.