Concerns about introducing euthanasia in New South Wales, as expressed by Minister for Ageing John Ajaka MLC, were shared by many in the community, says the Australian Christian Lobby.

"As a lawyer and NSW Minister for Ageing, Mr Ajaka would be well aware of how vulnerable the elderly are to manipulation over financial matters" said ACL NSW Director Mark Makowiecki.

"By adding euthanasia to the mix, it's not difficult to foresee parents and grandparents being coerced to bring forward their death.

“Classifying euthanasia as "a public health issue" as Go Gentle's Shayne Higson asserts is misleading. It has far-reaching consequences which, far from making Australia a more compassionate place, will instead contribute to a devaluing of the lives of the disabled or elderly,” he said.

Last year, the Washington Post revealed that the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia was a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“Belgium and the Netherlands are held up as ‘best practice’ examples by euthanasia proponents, but over time so-called safeguards had been whittled away,” Mr Makowicki said.

Mr Makowiecki said assertions by Ms Higson that it was unacceptable to oppose euthanasia "on moral or ethical grounds" did not reflect the deep-seated concern parliamentarians have when deliberating over state-sanctioned assisted suicide laws.

"Euthanasia is laden with moral and ethical dilemmas because its central concern is the taking of human life,” Mr Makowiecki said. 

"Parliamentarians understand the responsibility they have to all citizens, especially the vulnerable.  That is why they have repeatedly rejected calls for euthanasia.

“Members of parliament understand the great strides palliative care has made in relation to pain management and they appreciate that state-sanctioned killing opens up considerable ethical dilemmas.”

ENDS