Monday, 3 December 2012

Vale Erik Leipoldt – champion of disability rights


It is with a profound sense of loss that I mark the passing of Erik Leipoldt on Wednesday 28th November in Perth WA.

I never had the opportunity to meet Erik; but, like for many Australians, his work had a profound impact on me. Through our occasional email exchanges I grew quickly to appreciate that Erik was an exceptional thinker with a clear focus and sense of purpose coloured beautifully with generosity and a sense of humour.

Vale Erik Leopoldt
I first came to hear about Erik and his work in 2010 when Australian Policy Online published his paper:  Euthanasia in Australia: Raising a disability voice.  I encourage you to honour Erik’s work by reading this stunning paper once more. (CLICK HERE).

When we began HOPE, Erik kindly agreed to be an advisor on disability related issues.
Erik was a Dutch-born Australian. He acquired his disability of quadriplegia in a diving accident in 1978. Born in Amsterdam, Erik had commented that he had ‘two lives’; living half of his life in Amsterdam before moving to Perth and about half his life with paralysis.

Erik earned a PhD in philosophy; his thesis explored the views and experiences of Dutch and Australian people with disabilities on the topic of euthanasia.

The OnLineOpinion website lists some of Erik’s achievements:

He is a past chair of the WA Disability Services Advisory Committee, and member of various former government disability policy advisory committees, including the Disability Advisory Council of Australia. He is a past convenor of the Australian Advocacy Network and past Executive Officer of People With Disabilities WA. He was a Member of the former Guardianship and Administration Board WA and is currently a Senior Sessional Member of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia. Erik is known as an author of many articles, commenting from a disability perspective. His PhD thesis (2003) was entitled "Good life in the balance: a cross-national study of Dutch and Australian disability perspectives on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide." His main current interest is how disability experience may provide a practical guiding story to a sustainable world. He is an Adjunct Lecturer with the Centre for Research into Disability and Society, Curtin University of Technology, WA.
Erik was also the convenor of the website:  ProLiving - a Disability perspective on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. His website, Towards Good Lives has some interesting perspectives on the National Disability Insurance Scheme – a very worthwhile read.

We offer our deepest condolences to June Leipoldt, to their children, children Nolan and Sophie, sister Anne-Marie and father Frits.

Erik will be farewelled at the Pinnaroo Chapel on Friday 7th December 2012 at 11am.

Links below to more of Erik’s work:

Click here for links to Erik’s articles at OnLine Opinion.

No comments:

Post a Comment