Catholic aged care provider wants nothing to do with assisted suicide

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Home > Media > News > Catholic aged care provider wants nothing to do with assisted suicide
Catholic aged care provider wants nothing to do with assisted suicide

Southern Cross Care believes that Tasmania’s proposed assisted suicide legislation is “fatally flawed” says board chairperson Stephen Shirley.

Interviewed by the Catholic Standard, Mr Shirley said that the proposed legislation is incompatible with the ethos of Southern Cross Care.

Established by Catholic organisation Knights of the Southern Cross, Southern Cross Care is one of the largest aged care providers in the State.

“The dignity of the person is what drives everything that we do. So we are seeking to give everyone … the ability to live a full life while they're with us,” Mr Shirley said.

“I said to the Legislative Council earlier in this week that I believe that the legislation is fatally flawed because it contemplates allowing people to end their lives prematurely. And that sends a message about the lack of dignity and respect of every individual life. So we have a strong view that the legislation is fatally flawed.”

Mr Shirley says there is “a whole degree of complexity” about voluntary assisted dying in aged care, including the issue of people accessing other people’s medication, and the many residents who live with various levels of cognitive impairment.

He said that if the bill passes, Southern Cross Care would – at a minimum – be seeking to conscientiously object to being involved in voluntary assisted dying as an organisation.

“Every life has value. It has unique value, and that's the ethos that drives our organisation,” said Mr Shirley.

“As soon as you start saying that people can take the choice of ending their own life at a time of their choosing, you are replacing an objective belief in the dignity and the worth of every individual with a subjective choice about that worth.”

Mr Shirley says he believes that people may be attracted to the care provided by Southern Cross Care because of their position on assisted suicide.

“I think as an organisation, there will be an awful lot of people who will take comfort from, and come to Southern Cross Care because of our stance that we will look after them, or their relatives, to the natural end of their life.”