Controversial philosopher Peter Singer defends his infanticide views

An Australian philosopher has defended his controversial views that parents of babies who have disabilities should have the right to euthanise them.

Peter Singer, a professor of ethics, has argued it's ethical to give parents the option to euthanise their babies if they have "severe disabilities".

He told Magic Talk his views aren't "all that different from things that are happening right now" that are already generally approved.

He says parents of severely disabled children are consulted by their physicians if the child is on a ventilator and in an Intensive Care Unit as to whether they want to continue to ventilate the child, he gives as an example.

"I'm talking about really severe cases where the prospects for the child are very poor, and if parents say 'look under these circumstances it would be better to withdraw the ventilator', the doctors will agree and they know that means the child will die," he says.

"I think they're doing what I'm suggesting, it's just they're doing it by withdrawing a treatment rather than by taking some active measures."

Singer was due to arrive in New Zealand in June to discuss his views that promised to teach "how to apply ethics to your everyday life".

However, his event was cancelled by the venue after complaints were made.

"I was very surprised the venue cancelled the booking without even checking with me about the nature of the complaints that were being made. It seems like a knee-jerk response. Somebody complains, you cancel the speaker. It seems like a pretty strange way to run a venue," he says.

Before the cancellation, New Zealand's disabled community was outraged he was scheduled to visit.

Dr Huhana Hickey, who has used a wheelchair since 1996 and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010, said in February Singer is "not an expert in the area of disability".

"His views against disabled people have been picked up by the abled community over the years and a lot of his views have been used against us," she said.

"He has every right to freedom of speech, they have every right to host him. I have every right to protest and to counter his speech around disability."