Kanishka Raffell

The passing of the ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying’ legislation will be a matter of regret for our whole community, not just for people of faith who objected strongly or for the doctors who raised their voices against it.

Thanks are due to those MPs who sought to ensure there would be safeguards protecting vulnerable people, medical practitioners and others who care for those who suffer. Unfortunately, most of the proposed amendments were rejected.

This legislation affects not only those who will choose what is euphemistically called ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying’  but will fundamentally affect our culture and values.

We must be vigilant to maintain an emphasis on palliative care so that people have quality to the end of their lives and are not subject to undue pressure because of a lack of resources to support them in their suffering.

I hope the government will ensure that the scope of the bill and those to whom it is applied, does not broaden in the way it has done overseas, being extended to those who are not terminally ill and who suffer from a broad range of illness or disability.

Finally, pray for those suffering that they may be assured that everything will be done to preserve and promote their quality of life, and for medical staff whose relationship with patients has been fundamentally altered by these laws. 

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel,

20 May 2022