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Bishop Charles Gauci (ACBC)

Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci has raised concerns that introducing voluntary euthanasia in the Northern Territory without addressing existing inequalities could “further marginalise” Indigenous communities. Source: The Australian. 

Bishop Gauci said revelations the NT Labor Government had surveyed Territorians on whether there was public support that voluntary assisted dying (VAD) should be available on the basis of mental health conditions alone were concerning, and “undermines initiatives” to combat suicide rates.

He also questioned how a mechanism allowing dementia patients to leave advanced directives that they wished to access VAD once their condition progressed to the point that they could not consent would navigate “ethical concerns”.

Bishop Gauci said it was vital that Indigenous communities were consulted on their concerns regarding assisted suicide, particularly in relation to “culturally appropriate palliative care and end-of-life decision-making processes”.

“Indigenous communities often face unique challenges and vulnerabilities, including disparities in access to healthcare and cultural sensitivity in medical settings,” he said.

“Introducing VAD without adequately addressing these underlying issues could exacerbate existing disparities and further marginalise Indigenous communities.”

Bishop Gauci said opening VAD schemes to patients suffering from a mental health condition alone “contradicts our efforts to reduce suicide rates among this demographic and undermines initiatives aimed at assisting people with mental illness to lead fulfilling lives”.

He also said there was a “risk of gradual expansion and erosion of safeguards initially put in place”.

NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said while it was important the consultation was broad, the survey questions did “raise serious alarm bells as to the scope of Labor’s intentions around VAD”.


NT healthcare must improve ahead of voluntary assisted dying laws, advocates say (By Rhiannon Down, The Australian)


‘Mental health is not ever terminal’, says Patrick McGorry (The Australian)

NT healthcare must improve ahead of voluntary assisted dying laws, advocates say (NT News)  

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