By James Tillman

HOBART, Australia, July 6, 2010 ( – Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart, Tasmania, has sharply criticized a “Dying with Dignity” bill that euthanasia proponents are once more attempting to push through the Tasmanian legislature – this time with taxpayer money.

“As a society, we must be respectful of the sacred nature of human life and having this mistaken sense of compassion isn’t certainly respectful of human dignity,” he told the Catholic Weekly.

Greens leader Nick McKim's “Dying with Dignity Bill” has been defeated both this year and last year.  Tasmanian Attorney General Lara Gidding, however, has said she wishes to use departmental resources to help McKim develop yet another euthanasia bill.

“This is so important for those Tasmanians who are suffering every day and would like the choice to terminate their own life,” she said.

Archbishop Doyle said he was “concerned by the fact that despite being rejected less than a year ago by the Parliament of Tasmania … the Attorney-General has chosen to raise this issue again in conjunction with Mr. McKim.”

“I am equally concerned,” he continued, “that the Attorney General will use the resources of her office to push this Bill when there are so many more issues which are a higher priority, such as mental health, welfare, hospital and housing waiting lists and education.”

Tasmania's Anglican Bishop John Harrower spoke similarly.

“I'm quite dismayed that we would use these resources in this sort of way when we have people in real anguish in our community,” he told ABC.

He continued: “Our community is judged by the way we care for the least of our people in terms of least resources and those who have the most need for our love and compassion.”

“We've looked at this twice, we've come to a clear decision and nothing has changed. Say no to this, and yes to caring for the Tasmania community in terms of mental health and housing. Let's get our priorities right here and build a healthy Tasmania.”

Giddings has dismissed any concerns that developing a euthanasia bill would be a waste of taxpayer money.  In a statement she said that government resources have been used for private member's bills before and that her department's core services will not be impacted.

Archbishop Doyle also criticized the mindset that the “Dying with Dignity” bill title revealed.

“It is concerning that there is a perception in our community,” he said, “which claims that euthanasia as being a dignified death, promoting the premise that any other avenue of death is 'undignified' and euthanasia (or medical assisted suicide) as the only method of a dignified death.”

Even if public opinion is in favor of euthanasia, he said, it still “doesn't make it right.”

See related stories on

Euthanasia Bill Introduced in Tasmanian Parliament


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