Dr Rodney Syme was named the Australian Humanist of the Year 2017 in recognition of his compassionate advocacy for the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria and around Australia, sometimes at great professional risk, and for expressing fundamental Humanist values whilst doing so. Below is his acceptance speech given at the Gala Dinner held in Melbourne on 8 April, 2017.
John Bell was named Australian Humanist of the Year for 2016 joining such people as Lionel Murphy (parliamentarian and jurist who introduced no-fault divorce and civil marriage ceremonies among many other reforms), Fred Hollows (ophthalmologist), Eric Bogle (singer/songwriter) and many others. It is customary for the recipient to give an address on the occasion of their presentation. Unfortunately, John Bell wasn’t able to be present in Brisbane in person but gave his address from Humanist House in Sydney. His address is reproduced here in full where he speaks about his life journey through the works of Shakespeare and how it has led him to a humanist philosophy and outlook on life