Voluntary Assisted Dying is a topical issue in our society. Legislation will likely soon be introduced into the Queensland Parliament, after it has already been passed in Victoria.
In order for the church to develop an informed position on this topic, in late 2018, on behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, I requested an update of the Synod’s previous position on voluntary assisted dying. This was important, given growing community support, and the Victorian legislation. The time was right for conversation and discernment across the Synod.
After a consultation paper was developed and distributed, consultation meetings were held across 11 locations in Queensland where we spoke to over 260 people and received 46 written submissions from individual members and congregations across the Synod.
The Queensland Synod’s 2019 position is that we do not support legislation of Voluntary Assisted Dying in Queensland.
We recognise that in some situations, the experiences of end-of-life can cause significant distress for the person dying, their families and care staff.
We also recognise that there will be people, who in good conscience and in light of their faith in God, make a decision to undertake Voluntary Assisted Dying.
The church believes that so-called Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation will place an unfair burden on people at the most vulnerable time of their lives. We believe investment should be directed towards 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 at the end-of-life.