Australia's oldest scientist David Goodall arrives in Switzerland to end his life

Australian scientist Professor David Goodall, 104, has arrived in the Swiss city where he plans to end his life.

Australia's oldest scientist, Professor David Goodall, has arrived in Switzerland to end his life with a voluntary assisted suicide program, hoping it will send a message to legislators back home.

Petting a dog in a warm welcoming crew at Basel's airport, Professor Goodall, 104, answered reporters' questions after coming in from visiting relatives in Bordeaux, France, over the weekend.

"I am glad to arrive," Goodall said from a wheelchair. "The message I would like to send is: once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself whether one wants to go on living or not."

Lucid and humorous, Goodall reiterated his frustration about not being as free or as mobile in his later life as he once was. While not suffering from a terminal illness, he said he hoped his trip to take his own life in Switzerland - which allows assisted suicide, unlike Australia - would change legislators' minds one day.

"I think we've got quite a way to go. I would like to see the system change, but I doubt it will happen within the next 10 years," he said.

Goodall is expected to meet on Tuesday with a doctor who will assess his mindset and hold another news conference on Wednesday. On Thursday, he plans to swallow a lethal cocktail of chemicals, ending his life.

After the weekend visit in France, he acknowledged he was "a bit sorry to say goodbye to my family in Bordeaux. But that's the way it was."

104-year-old David Goodall arrives at Basel Airport in Switzerland, Monday, May 7, 2018.
Source: AAP

Switzerland is one of the world's most permissive countries when it comes to assisted suicide. Representatives of the Swiss "assisted voluntary death" group Life Circle, which is helping Goodall, say only Switzerland and Colombia allow foreigners to travel into the country for an assisted suicide.

Asked whether he was sure he wanted to go through with it, Goodall replied "Oh yes. That's what I'm here for!"

"I no longer find much joy in life. Up to, even up to, say, the age of 90 I was enjoying life. But not now," Prof Goodall told the ABC before he left Australia.

Prof Goodall, who worked at Perth's Edith Cowan University, told broadcaster ABC he was resentful about having to go abroad to die as Australia does not allow voluntary euthanasia.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14.
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
  • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.
  • Multicultural Mental Health Australia
  • Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from

Published 8 May 2018 at 7:26am, updated 8 May 2018 at 10:22pm