Australia’s oldest scientist arrives in Switzerland to end his life

8 May 2018

Australia’s oldest scientist arrives in Switzerland to end his life

Australia’s oldest scientist, Professor David Goodall, 104, has arrived in Switzerland to end his life with a voluntary assisted euthanasia program.

The professor has hopes of sending a message to Australian legislators to introduce a program like Switzerland’s.

Mr Goodall spoke to the media as he arrived at Basel Airport after visiting relatives in Bordeaux, France. Patting a dog alongside him, he received a warm welcome from reporters.

“I am glad to arrive,” Mr Goodall said from a wheelchair. “The message I would like to send is: once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself whether one wants to go on living or not.”

“I think we’ve got quite a way to go. I would like to see the system change, but I doubt it will happen within the next 10 years,” he said.

Mr Goodall is expected to meet with doctors on Tuesday in Switzerland who will assess his mindset, followed by a press conference on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Mr Goodall plans to swallow a lethal cocktail of chemicals, which will end his life.

He acknowledged that he was “a bit sorry to say goodbye to my family in Bordeaux. But that’s the way it was.”

Asked whether he was sure he wanted to go through with it, Goodall replied: “Oh yes. That’s what I’m here for!”

Switzerland is known for its permissive laws on euthanasia, and is one of the only countries in the world, alongside Columbia, that allows foreigners to to travel into the countries for assisted suicide, the Representatives of the Swiss “assisted voluntary death” group Life Circle said.

Professor Goodall, who worked at the Perth Edith Cowan University, told broadcaster ABC that he was unhappy that he had to travel to another country to end his life, as Australia does not allow voluntary euthanasia.


Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14.
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.
  • Multicultural Mental Health Australia at www.mmha.org.au.
  • Local Aboriginal Medical Service from www.bettertoknow.org.au/AMS.