Australia bans pro-euthanasia adverts

A television and billboard advertising campaign for the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, which is headed by Dr Philip Nitschke, has been banned in Australia.

The contentious TV advert was set to be aired on Sunday night but advertising regulators denied permission for the ad to go ahead.

This week Exit’s billboard advertising campaign was also banned under state laws which do not allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or attempted suicide.

Choice

Dr Nitschke, nicknamed Dr Death, successfully campaigned in Australia’s Northern Territory to legalise euthanasia there in the 1990s. However the law was overturned by the federal government nine months later.

Exit’s TV advert shows an ill-looking man explaining he has a terminal illness and declaring: “I’ve made my final choice. I just need the Government to listen”.

The first of Exit’s billboard adverts was planned for next month in outer Sydney.

The TV advert was banned on the ground that it breached the Commercial Television Industry code of practice on “the promotion or encouragement of suicide” and the billboard ad fell foul of New South Wales’ Crimes Act.

Suicide

Dr Nitschke hit British headlines in 2008 after Bournemouth council intervened to stop his do-it-yourself suicide ‘workshop’ taking place in one of its buildings.

The workshops focus on “practical end-of-life strategies” and include an in-depth exploration of different ways to commit suicide.

According to Exit International UK, Dr Nitschke chose to speak in Bournemouth because “there are lots of older people there”.

A number of assisted suicide campaigners have previously distanced themselves from Dr Nitschke and his methods.