About Dr Philip Nitschke
Dr Philip Nitschke, PhD, MBBS, BSc (Hons) is the Founder & Director of Exit International.
In 1996, Philip became the the first physician in the world to administer a legal, lethal voluntary injection under the short-lived Rights of the Terminally Ill Act of the Northern Territory in 1996.
Four of Philip's terminally ill patients used this law to end their suffering before the law was overturned in March 1997 by the Australian Parliament.
Born in 1947 in rural South Australia, Philip studied physics at the University of Adelaide, completing a PhD at Flinders University in laser physics in 1972.
Rejecting a career in the sciences, Philip instead traveled to the Northern Territory to take up work with the Aboriginal land rights activist, Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji at Wave Hill.
After the hand-back of land by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Philip became a NT Parks & Wildlife ranger. A serious accident to his foot saw Philip return to university, graduating from Sydney University Medical School in 1988.
Philip is the coauthor (with Dr Fiona Stewart) of two books:
In July 2008, the print edition of The Peaceful Pill Handbook was listed No. 66 on the Amazon.com global Bestseller List. This same edition is banned in Australia. A censored version of the book was approved for publication in New Zealand in June 2008.
Dr Nitschke is the recipient of:
• Northern Territorian of the Year - 1997
He is a eight-time nominee for Australian of the Year (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) & twice a state finalist (2005 & 2006).
Today, Philip travels widely holding Public Meetings, conducting Exit Workshops (Euthanasia Information Workshops) - which regularly book out months ahead.
"When I'm not working I can be found tinkering or out on my old Russian motorbike. It's a Cossack, modeled on the WW II BMWs. I bought it in 1974 from a chap in Alice Springs who had just ridden up from Adelaide. This was in the days before the Stuart Hwy was sealed, so it was corrugates all the way.
I saw him in the main street, sitting in the gutter - his bones jottled through. I went up to him and said 'Wow! A Cossack! I've always wanted one of those'. He said 'it's yours for $400'. And so it was & he just walked away.
A few years later I imported the Russian sidecar from some dealers in Sydney. The bike's been on the road more or less ever since. Today it's my hobby. Most of our holidays over recent years have been undertaken on the bike outback. It's the best type of relaxation and escape.
Andrew Denton - Enough Rope
"More than any public figure in Australia, Dr Philip Nitschke divides the room. He has won humanitarian awards and been nominated for Australian of the Year, but you will not find many public figures rushing to be photographed with him. That is because the cause he champions is the most emotional of all, euthanasia, the right to determine how you die."
ANDREW DENTON: Please welcome a man who depending on where you stand is either a saint or a ghoul - Dr Philip Nitschke.