Euthanasia legalised in NSW – Bishop Anthony Randazzo Profoundly Disappointed

Church leaders, religious healthcare providers and pro-life groups are profoundly disappointed following a marathon debate in the Upper House of the NSW Parliament which now all but legalises voluntary assisted dying in this state.

Debate began on Wednesday in The Legislative Council that lasted until midnight before resuming Thursday morning when the amended bill was agreed to by a majority.

Already approved in The Legislative Assembly or Lower House, the bill now returns there largely unchanged, meaning its legalisation is all but guaranteed. Voluntary Assisted Dying, or as opponents refer to the legislation, State Assisted Suicide, will become legal.

Most Rev Anthony Randazzo, Bishop of Broken Bay said it is an extremely disappointing situation when we accept the sanction of the State to determine who lives and who dies.

euthanasia-news-image-2“Assisted suicide is a completely unacceptable solution to the problem of suffering,” Bishop Randazzo said.

“A genuinely human society is not how we decide to eliminate those who suffer, but how we care for them.

“While deeply moved by many comments aired during the years of this debate, it is clear the social mood and the narrative has evolved in a way that the language of personal rights now dominates over our concern for the common good.

“We should be considering and caring for the rights of all citizens to be well, to have the care they need, and not lost to the margins.

“We now have to consider what this means to our health care and aged care, the vulnerable and confused.”

A majority of tabled amendments were voted down during Wednesday night’s debate, including a push to give aged and residential homes the power to block voluntary assisted dying taking place in their facilities.

Religious health care providers had expressed concern the bill would force them to facilitate assisted dying.

“While the legalisation of euthanasia is a disappointing development, legislative change does not alter the good news of Jesus Christ that every life is sacred,” said Emma Baker, team leader for Life, Marriage & Family at Evangelisation Broken Bay.

“Fear, economics and access to healthcare should not determine how we respond to the end-of-life process.

“As we transition to a society in which assisted suicide is an option, we give thanks for the religious healthcare providers who continue to oppose this process and invest in the highest quality medical care for patients who are terminally ill,” said Ms Baker.

“Let’s ensure members of our family, friends, those who are alone, the vulnerable in our community know and understand that they are loved, that we will be with them in their journey, and that they are not a burden.”

New South Wales will become the last state to allow voluntary assisted dying although it is not legal in Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory due to a Federal law banning the practice in both territories.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 bill was introduced into the NSW lower house by Independent MP Alex Greenwich in October last year. The bill was co-sponsored by 28 MPs from across the political spectrum, the highest number of co-sponsors for any bill in an Australian parliament. Politicians from both major parties were given a conscience vote on the bill.

Labor MLC Greg Donnelly, independent MLC Fred Nile and Liberal MLC Damien Tudehope were the main opponents to the bill’s passage in the upper house.

Once passed by both houses, the law will become effective next year.