Queensland’s most senior religious leaders, have united in a bid to push against the legalisation of euthanasia in that State.  An open letter signed by 16 religious authorities urges “high quality palliative care” over voluntary assisted dying.  Catholic Archbishop Coleridge, along with Anglican Archbishop Aspinall, Uniting Church Rev David Baker as well as Jewish, Islamic, Wesleyan, Lutheran, Baptist and other leaders wrote that voluntary assisted dying (VAD) is “not dying well”.  “The Queensland Government should maintain the current laws and improve palliative care for a flourishing Queensland based on human freedom, human dignity and the common good,” the letter stated.

A parliamentary committee has been tasked with assessing aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and VAD.  It is due to report back by March this year.  The religious leaders argue that to legalise VAD “is a failure because we have done nothing to improve the circumstances that lead to people experiencing such unnecessary and avoidable suffering in the first place”.  “We have failed in our responsibility to affirm the worth of every Queenslander and the meaningfulness of every life, leading some among us, especially the most vulnerable, to believe that they are worth nothing and that they would be ‘better off dead’,” the letter stated.

They added that VAD “undermines efforts” to tackle the “crisis of suicide”.  “We believe better end-of-life care begins with better conversations about death and dying and how we can die well in ways that do not undermine the foundational values of our society,” they wrote.  The leaders said Queenslanders didn’t yet have universal access to specialist palliative care that addresses the physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of people.  Independent MP Sandy Bolton has urged the major parties to work together to ensure parliament voted on new laws to legalise euthanasia before the State Election in October 2020.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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