Andrew Denton revives Better Off Dead podcast after 5 years

Five-and-a-half years after Andrew Denton investigated Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law, the legendary television and radio presenter is bringing back his Better Off Dead podcast for a new season.

The original series was released in 2015, and looked into some of the reasons why more than 70% of Australians support making VAD legal, plus the powerful people who are working to prevent that from becoming a reality.

Better Off Dead was inspired by Denton watching his own father, Kit, die painfully at the age of 67. To record the first season, he spent 18 months travelling around Australia talking with doctors, nurses, politicians, as well as ethicists, priests, lawyers, and opponents of assisted dying.

It would go on to reach more than 50,000 listeners across the world.

The new season will again be co-produced by Denton and The Wheeler Centre, with Go Gentle Australia – and looks into what happened in Victoria after legislation allowing VAD was passed in June 2019.

It explores the fact that in its first year, 124 people received assistance dying in Victoria, but many church leaders and doctors oppose the laws.

Denton speaks with more of them, as well as those with direct experience of how the law works including the families; the doctors; the keepers of the safeguards; the deliverers of the medication, and the people.

The presenter won’t stop until VAD is legal for all Australians, with laws passing in WA (2019) and Tasmania (2021). The legislation will be voted on in QLD, SA and NSW later this year.

He said: “What struck me was the deep level of integrity and care with which everyone I spoke to approached the needs of the person who was dying. The profound humanity on display, most of all from the families, was only surpassed by the courage of those who made the choice to no longer suffer.”

Episode one is out Tuesday, 13 April – with episodes to be released twice weekly through to the end of May.

The Wheeler Centre CEO, Caro Llewellyn, said: “In the aftermath of 2020’s global COVID-19 pandemic, questions of life and death, living and dying have been at the forefront of public consciousness.

“The Wheeler Centre is proud to be working with Andrew Denton again and Go Gentle Australia on the second series of Better Off Dead to shine much-needed light and bring wide-eyed truth-telling about voluntary assisted dying and end-of-life choices to the Australian public.”    


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