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Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci maintains the Church will “not condone” actions that corrupt debate around the proposed legalisation of euthanasia in the Northern Territory. Source: NT News. 

Bishop Gauci made the pledge after concerns were raised by voluntary assisted dying advocates, including Council on the Ageing NT chief executive Sue Shearer, whose group has long supported legislation for the practice.

Ms Shearer last week said there were fears members of the religious community would attempt to “frighten” Indigenous people.

“There are concerns that legislation would be misconstrued and people with religious belief will try to – like they did in ‘95 – frighten Indigenous people,” Ms Shearer said.

“But it can be pretty simple, it’s a voluntary scheme, nobody will be forced.”

Bishop Gauci said he could “not speak” to the events of 1995, but maintained the Church was committed to listening to “various groups” and engaging in a “respectful dialogue”, including with First Nations people.

However, he said the Church held concerns over the divisive issue.

“Introducing VAD for individuals with mental illness who are not in immediate danger of death contradicts our efforts to reduce suicide rates among this demographic and undermines initiatives aimed at assisting people with mental illness to lead fulfilling lives,” Bishop Gauci said.

“Therefore, introducing VAD for mental illness may inadvertently hinder our efforts to provide holistic support and treatment options for individuals grappling with mental health challenges.”

Bishop Gauci also said “careful consideration” was required for Indigenous communities.

“It is essential to engage in meaningful dialogue with Indigenous stakeholders to understand their perspectives and concerns regarding VAD, particularly in relation to culturally appropriate palliative care and end-of-life decision-making processes.”


Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci says Church will ‘not condone’ scare tactics over voluntary assisted dying debate (By Harry Brill, NT News)