Death is the most personal of matters, but it’s also a political hot potato.
Most of us don’t choose (or even expect) the way in which we die, but for the terminally ill, death is a looming certainty to be dealt with. And as humans live longer – largely thanks to the interventions of modern medicine – we’re more likely to die of serious illness, and to have our deaths medically postponed.
There has long been a call for governments to grant us the right to choose our own death, by legalising euthanasia. But what are the circumstances in which this right should be granted? Who gets to decide – and when? And then there’s the sobering knowledge that this is one life decision that can’t be reversed.
From medicos to philosophers, politicians to law enforcers, the terminally ill to their loved ones, this one issue we all have an opinion on – and a possible stake in.
Speakers for the motion include Beth Wilson, the outgoing Victorian Health Services Commissioner, Professor Loane Skene, an ethicist at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Philip Nitschke, the founding director of pro-euthanasia group Exit International.
Speakers against the motion include Dr Shakira Hussein, from the Asia Institute at University of Melbourne, Scott Stephens, religion and ethics editor for ABC Online, and Associate Professor Bill Silvester, Director Respecting Patient Choices Program at the Austin Hospital, and Intensive Care Specialist.
Too often, the big issues feel ill-served by parliamentary question time or the 24-hour news cycle. Big issues and bigger ideas deserve informed and passionate consideration. Beyond the soundbites, beyond the sloganeering, beyond the posturing, there’s the debate.
The Wheeler Centre and St James Ethics Centre combine once again in 2012 to bring you another series of Intelligence Squared debates.
Established in 2002, IQ2 has spread from across the globe, bringing the traditional form of Cambridge and Oxford Unions-style debating – with two sides proposing and opposing a sharply formed motion – to Melbourne Town Hall.
Scott Stephens is the religion and ethics editor for ABC Online. He is the editor/translator of the selected writings of the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, and is currently working on books with theologian John Milbank and literary critic James Wood. He is a regular commentator on ABC Radio National and ... Read more
Shakira Hussein is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on Muslim women, gendered violence and racialised political discourse. She completed her PhD at the Australian National University and is a regular media contributor on issues... Read more
For more than a decade, Dr Philip Nitschke MBBS PhD has been the face of the voluntary euthanasia debate in Australia and around the world. He is the author of the banned Peaceful Pill Handbook and Killing Me Softly: Voluntary Euthanasia and The Road to the Peaceful Pill published by Penguin in 200... Read more
Professor Skene is a professor of law in the faculty of Law and an adjunct professor in the faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She is a member of the NHMRC Legislation Review Committee on Human Cloning and Embryo Research (the Heerey Committee), the Aus... Read more
Dr Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre and chairs the Intelligence Squared debates in Sydney and Melbourne. Simon Longstaff spent five years studying and working as a member of Magdalene College, Cambridge, before returning to Australia in mid-1991. Having won scholarshi... Read more
Beth Wilson became Victoria’s Health Services Commissioner in 1997. She is a lawyer by training and has worked mainly in administrative law. Beth has had a long-standing interest in medico/legal and ethical issues. Prior to becoming Health Services Commissioner, Beth was the president of the Ment... Read more
Associate Professor William Silvester is The Director of the Respecting Patient Choices Program at the Austin Hospital. He is also an intensive care specialist and a medical consultant for DonateLife, the Victorian Organ Donation Service and the president of the International Society of Advance Care... Read more
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