Ruddock Calls for Rethink on Status of Suicide Handbook

The Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, has asked the Classification Review Board to review the classification of The Peaceful Pill Handbook, a publication which provides information on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

In September, the Australian Customs Service seized copies of the book – written by euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke – as a prohibited import under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

In December, the Classification Board classified it as Category 1 – Restricted, meaning it had been approved for distribution.

Mr Ruddock said this highlighted an apparent anomaly in the application of two pieces of Commonwealth legislation.

“This means that the publication is legally available within Australia but it cannot be legally imported into Australia,” he said.