Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.
(NASB Psalm 39:4)
Every year there are issues that create dissention in us as a nation. This year they seem to be coming fast and plenty with the election and more recently religious freedom with the Israel Folau matter taking the debate in a new direction. But for this column I would like to touch on another matter that has received significant attention in recent weeks: voluntary assisted dying.
Legislation on voluntary assisted dying will likely be introduced into the Queensland Parliament and the Western Australian Parliament in the near future, and is already in place in Victoria. There have been parliamentary debates in New South Wales and South Australia.
The Queensland Synod has done extensive consultation on this topic over the course of the last 18 months. We have run meetings throughout Queensland where we spoke to over 260 people and received 46 written submissions from individual members across the Synod.
At the 34th Synod in Session we received the final discussion paper, and the Synod in Session resolved by majority vote that the church does not support legislation of voluntary assisted dying in Queensland.
While we do not support voluntary assisted dying, if it is legalised, the church is committed to offering a compassionate and pastoral response to people and families who choose this path. We also recognise that there will be people who in good conscience and in the light of their faith make a decision to undertake voluntary assisted dying.
The church is concerned that any such legislation will place an unfair burden on people at the most vulnerable time of their lives. We believe that there needs to be significant investment in high quality, well-resourced and accessible palliative and end-of-life care that responds to the physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of people across Queensland.
I encourage members of the church to make their voices heard by writing to their local Member of Parliament. I’ve spoken to a number of members; they are acutely aware of the polling on this matter, but they are also aware of the less discussed challenges and problems such legislation would bring.
If you would like to know more, visit ucaqld.com.au/vad
Rev David Baker