Better Off Dead
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Bonus Episode 14: Last Words: Voluntary Assisted Dying
Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying law came into effect in June 2019. The first of its kind in Australia and touted as the most conservative in the world, the passing of Victoria’s law was a watershed moment for end-of-life care in this country.
More than eighteen months on, in April 2021, what effect is this law having on end-of-life care for terminally ill Victorians? Is the law working as planned? And is there room for improvement?
The final episode of Better Off Dead season two centres on a recording of the Wheeler Centre’s Last Words: Voluntary Assisted Dying panel discussion. Previously broadcast on Radio National’s Big Ideas programme, it features a panel discussion on voluntary assisted dying hosted by Paul Barclay. Panelists include Andrew Denton, founder of Go Gentle Australia and host of the Better Off Dead podcast; Justice Betty King QC, Chair of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board; Professor Phillip Parente, oncologist; and Ron Poole, a terminally ill Shepparton man who has chosen to access the voluntary assisted dying life-ending medication.
Our special thanks to Ron Poole, who generously took time out of the precious final days of his life to share his perspective on voluntary assisted dying. Ron died on 26 April, less than a week after this panel discussion took place. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.
Justice Betty King
"People come to this often – late. And they come late because they really haven’t known about it, haven’t been told about it or are in a situation where they don’t want to face mortality."
- Visit Go Gentle Australia gogentleaustralia.org.au
- Audio: Legalising Voluntary Assisted Dying -- Radio National’s Big Ideas programme, part of Caxton Legal Centre's 'Justice in Focus' series. Presented in conjunction with QUT. Recorded on 21 February 2019
- Visit: Voluntary Assisted Dying -- Victorian Health official website
In order of appearance: Paul Barclay, Ron Poole, Andrew Denton, Phillip Parente, Betty King
Better Off Dead season two is produced by the Wheeler Centre and Go Gentle Australia.
Learn more about Go Gentle Australia’s work.
Writer, Co-Producer and Host: Andrew Denton (Go Gentle Australia)
Series Co-Producer and Script Editor: Bethany Atkinson-Quinton (The Wheeler Centre)
Associate Producers: Kiki Paul and Steve Offner (Go Gentle Australia)
Audio Editor and Engineer: Martin Peralta
Production Assistant: Alex Gow (The Wheeler Centre)
Marketing: Emily Harms (The Wheeler Centre), Steve Offner and Frankie Bennett (Go Gentle Australia)
Publicity: Debbie McInnes (DMCPR Media)
Episode Page and transcript: Alice Boyle (The Wheeler Centre)
Episode Artwork: Megan Herbert
Commissioning Editors: Kiki Paul (Go Gentle Australia) and Caro Llewellyn (The Wheeler Centre)
Theme music: ‘Loydie’s Angel’, written and performed by Jordan Laser
If you're suffering, or someone you love has died badly – in a hospital, in palliative care, in a nursing home, or at home – or if you’ve had an experience with Voluntary Assisted Dying, we would love to hear from you. Tell your story here.
Download a transcript of this episode in PDF format.
Andrew Denton is widely recognised as one of Australian media's genuinely creative forces.