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Better Off Dead

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#15 Lawrie's Story

Listen to #15 Lawrie's Story

Of all the arguments against assisted dying, the most heartless I’ve heard is this:

Suicide is legal. Why do you need assistance to do something that you can do yourself?

Every time I hear that thought expressed (and I’ve heard it more than once while making this podcast), I’m astonished at the ease with which the people saying it manage to completely overlook the suffering of the people they’re talking about.

In this episode, we’re going to meet one of those people: father of two, Lawrie Daniel.

At 50, and stricken with MS, what does it mean to Lawrie to be told, ‘suicide is legal – what’s stopping you?’

Photo of Lawrie and Rebecca Daniel

Lawrie and Rebecca Daniel at home — Photo: Andrew Denton

'Through MS, I've pretty much lost my fear of dying, because sometimes I think there are things that are worse than death.'

Lawrie Daniel

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).

Know more

In this episode

  • Kevin Yuill
  • Lawrie Daniel
  • Rebecca Daniel

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 'Loneliness #3 (Night Talking)' (Arcade Fire), 'Our Own Roof' (Nils Frahm), 'All Farewells Are Sudden' (A Winged Victory for the Sullen), 'They Move on Tracks of Never-ending Light' (This Will Destroy You) 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.

Thank you

Thanks 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.