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Bishop Timothy Harris (ACBC/Giovanni Portelli Photography)

Townsville Bishop Tim Harris has called on the Queensland Government to rescind a decision to fund doctors flying to regional parts of the state to help terminally ill patients end their lives. Source: The Catholic Leader.

“Let’s call it for what it is – it is a death regime and an assault on a civilised society,” Bishop Harris said.

“I mean flying in death squads to assist in the killing of terminally ill people and then flying them out. To me it is an abomination because people need care, they need continuity of care.”

Queensland taxpayers will fund the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) doctor service to circumvent a federal law that prohibits “inciting or counselling” suicide over the phone or internet when the state’s Voluntary Assisted Dying scheme begins on January 1.

Current law prohibits doctors from discussing euthanasia via telehealth, and the federal Government has not yet made legislative amendments to exempt doctors, even though federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus is reported to be investigating changes to the Criminal Code.

“So, the Queensland Government has decided to send FIFO medicos into regional areas to euthanise people but not a dollar for better palliative care … airfares and death are cheaper, I guess,” Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge tweeted.

North Queensland MP Aaron Harper, who chaired the parliamentary inquiry into assisted dying, said the law that stops doctors from discussing euthanasia via phone or internet “did his head in” and needed to be changed urgently.

Bishop Harris said he was fiercely at odds with Mr Harper on the issue, and that the Government should provide funding for more palliative care specialists, not “fly-in fly-out hit squads to knock people out”.

“We’re going down a path that I never thought I’d ever see – yet it the path this state Government is determined to follow. It’s wrong. It’s immoral.”


It’s a ‘death regime’ says Queensland bishop opposed to government plan to fly in doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)