The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne hopes that there will much greater funding and interest in palliative care in the wake of euthanasia being a near certainty in his state.
Archbishop Philip Freier said last Wednesday’s vote in the Upper House, where euthanasia legislation was carried 22 votes to 18, was “a historic day, but not one I can celebrate”.
“For Christians and others who regard human life as having absolute value, this is a dangerous and disturbing piece of legislation, though I acknowledge that proponents of the assisted dying legislation are sincere,” the archbishop said in a statement.
“It represents a momentous social shift, with many doctors concerned about what it means for their profession and their duty to preserve life.”
“I hope and trust that the Act will be accompanied by a greater emphasis on palliative care, and much improved funding.”
Last year, the Inquiry into end of life choices report, issued by a committee of the Legislative Council, recommended greater funding for palliative care, which was followed by a statement from Palliative Care Victoria that an additional $65million a year would be needed.
Palliative Care Victoria said that it was “disappointed and disillusioned” by the Government’s November decision to grant an extra $62million over five years.
In late July, the Archbishop Freier was one of seven Victorian bishops who signed a joint letter to Premier Daniel Andrews denouncing euthanasia as “the abandonment of those who are greatest need of our care and support”, which would undermine trust in doctors and the health system.
The letter was also signed by the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart, and the Victorian leaders the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy, the Syro-Malabar (Catholic) eparchy, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church.