The Catholic Church in Tasmania wants a parliamentary inquiry into the voluntary assisted dying bill to be debated soon in the Legislative Council.
In a four-page pastoral letter to Tasmanian Catholics, Archbishop of Hobart, Most Reverend Julian Porteous said the bill introduced by Independent member for Mersey Mike Gaffney, went further than legislation in Victoria and Western Australia.
"Yet the bill has received no expert scrutiny through an independent inquiry process," Archbishop Porteous said. "The bill needs a thorough parliamentary inquiry.
"The last parliamentary inquiry into this issue took place in 2009, 11 years ago.
"Much has changed since then and it is critical that a thorough process of review is undertaken for proper examination and consultation on such a significant piece of legislation."
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Mr Gaffney rejected the need for a parliamentary inquiry to consider his private member's bill.
"There have been three recent public inquiries into voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland and all three have supported voluntary assisted dying," Mr Gaffney said.
"There is nothing an inquiry could improve on and the community has already expressed its view on the bill."
Archbishop Porteous said nothing was more important than protecting the lives of vulnerable Tasmanians.
The bill, he said, would also have major implications for Catholic health and aged care services which would never be allowed in those facilities.
"We have witnessed this very strikingly in efforts undertaken by both Australian and state governments, in particular Tasmania, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," he wrote.
"The proposed bill if passed would see the Tasmanian Government formally endorse assisted suicide. This goes against our Christian belief and will put vulnerable people at risk."
Archbishop Porteous urged Catholics to "participate in the political process" and write to parliamentarians about the bill. Debate on the bill starts on September 15.
Live and Die Well spokesman Ben Smith challenged Mr Gaffney to a public debate on the bill which he said was dangerous and flawed.
Mr Gaffney said the bill had been widely debated in the Tasmanian community and would be debated fully before the Parliament.