Listen: Rev Andrew Gunton, Moderator of the Uniting Church (pictured above) speaks to Alex Milne about the controversial legislation that was recently introduced to State Parliament.
This week the issue of voluntary assisted dying was brought into focus, with legislation introduced into the Queensland Parliament to allow the practice.
An election commitment of the Palaszczuk Government, the Premier has said that the legislation will also provide additional funding for palliative care.
“It provides a chain of safeguards to ensure only those at the end of life can make these choices, and then only those capable of making that choice for themselves” said the Premier. “That is why we’re equally committed to delivering an additional $171 million investment in palliative care.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also said that after the bill has been scrutinised by the Health and Environment Parliamentary Committee and further public consultation, that State MPs will have their own say on the legislation.
“When the time comes, Government MPs will vote according to their conscience.”
But what of the ethics of voluntary assisted dying? Is this something that Christians should be comfortable with?
Rev Andrew Gunton is the Moderator of the Uniting Church in Queensland and told 96five’s Alex Milne that the bill that has been brought forward is a challenging one.
“We believe that God gives us life and that life to live for His glory. For us it’s about living life, and so to talk about taking life is always a serious conversation, and we feel that it’s not where we would want to go in terms of promoting life in all its fullness.”
Rev Gunton said that the Uniting Church had been vocal in its opposition to the legislation.
“While we recognise that there does seem to be a shift in political will to put this through, then we need to shift and ask – how do we make sure we care for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“Let’s face it, there is no one more vulnerable than someone considering their own existence and what that means.
“We want to make sure that all the safeguards and every protocol in the laws is there to protect people.
“We are not advocates for voluntary assisted dying to go ahead, but if it has to go ahead that there would be as much safety as we can put into it.”
Rev Andrew Gunton said that it was important for people to make their voices heard if they are opposed to the laws moving forward.
“MPs are only in there at the will and as the voice of the people. If the people can speak and say that we don’t agree with this action, that’s an important thing they can do.
“Get onto your local MP who has got the ability to have their voice heard in this space.”
A current list of sitting Queensland Parliament members can be found here.
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You can listen to Alex Milne’s interview with Rev Andrew Gunton in the audio player at the top of the page.