SYDNEY - Australia's oldest scientist, who caused a stir when his university tried to vacate his office two years ago, will fly to Switzerland in early May to end his life, reigniting a national euthanasia debate.
Professor David Goodall, who is 104, does not have a terminal illness but his quality of life has deteriorated and he has secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Basel, euthanasia advocates said.
"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."
He added: "My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide."
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 (2017).
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, most recently in New South Wales state last year.