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Australian scientist, 104, to fly to Switzerland to die

David Goodall, who is 104, said his quality of life has deteriorated and has secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Basel.

“I greatly regret having reached that age,” the ecologist told broadcaster ABC on his birthday earlier this month.

“I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.

Australian scientist, 104, to fly to Switzerland to die
Australian scientist, 104, to fly to Switzerland to die

“My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide,” he added.

Mr Goodall made the headlines in 2016 when his university tried to force him from his role after declaring the then-102-year-old was unfit to be on campus.

The decision by Perth’s Edith Cowan University was reversed after he received support from scientists all over the world.

Mr Goodall has produced dozens of research papers and until recently continued to review and edit for different ecology journals.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice last year.

But that legislation, which takes effect from June 2019, only applies to terminally ill patients of sound mind and a life expectancy of less than six months.

Other states in Australia have debated euthanasia in the past, but the proposals have always been defeated, mostly recently in New South Wales last year.

Exit International, which is helping Mr Goodall make the trip, said it was unjust that one of Australia’s “oldest and most prominent citizens should be forced to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity”.

The group has launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay for business class plane tickets for Mr Goodall and his helper which has so far raised more than Aus$17,000 (£9,300).

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