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Last Words: Voluntary Assisted Dying


Event Status


Due to forecast weather conditions, we have relocated this event to The Wheeler Centre. For information on accessing the Wheeler Centre, please see here

If you have booked tickets to this event, please retain your current tickets and present them at the Wheeler Centre. Please be aware that the new seating arrangement will be general admission theatre style with unreserved seating. The doors will open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

For years, the topic of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) has sent moral and ethical ripples through Australian political, civil and personal debate. Since VAD legislation came into effect in Victoria in June 2019, more than one hundred people have received legal and medical assistance to die. 

In this important panel discussion at the Malthouse Outdoor Stage, we’ll hear from medical and legal experts and those whose lives are impacted by the controversial legislation, including broadcaster and VAD advocate Andrew Denton, The Hon. Betty King QC, Chair of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board and oncologist Dr Phillip Parente.. Hot on the tail of the second season of Denton’s podcast, Better Off Dead (co-produced by Go Gentle Australia and the Wheeler Centre), they’ll discuss the personal, political and societal dimensions of VAD, the impact of the Victorian legislation, and the current and future status of VAD across the country. Hosted by Paul Barclay.

Content warning: This event includes discussion of death, euthanasia and terminal illness. This event 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.

Presented in partnership with Malthouse Outdoor Stage


Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton is widely recognised as one of Australian media’s genuinely creative forces. Andrew’s television career takes in his groundbreaking early work on the ABC – Blah Blah Blah, The Money or The Gun, Live & Sweaty – through to his unforgettable reworking of television’s ‘... Read more

Betty King

Justice Betty King QC is Chairperson of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board and a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Her Honour joined the Victorian Bar in 1975 and practised in the criminal jurisdictions for both defence and prosecution. She was a Prosecutor for the Queen for the ... Read more

Phillip Parente

A/Prof Phillip Parente trained at Monash University graduating with First Class Honours in 1993. His current role is the Director of Cancer Services Eastern Health. His main areas of interest are Genitourinary Cancers, Lung Cancers and Melanoma and he is considered a clinical lead in these areas of... Read more

Paul Barclay

Paul Barclay is a Walkley Award winning journalist and broadcaster with an appetite for ideas and in-depth analysis and discussion. Paul has produced countless stories over more than 20 years for an array of programs on virtually all ABC radio networks. He is currently the presenter of Big Ideas o... Read more

Ron Poole

Ron Poole (77) lived in Shepparton and had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He elected to pursue Voluntary Assisted Dying after receiving a prognosis of less than 6 months left to live. ‘It will come to that stage where I won’t be able to breathe properly by myself, I will just be puffing, puffing... Read more


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