Father Bob Maguire adds to criticism of NSW government’s voluntary assisted dying laws | New South Wales politics

The maverick Catholic figure Father Bob Maguire has criticized New South Wales premier and the state’s parliament for passing voluntary assisted dying laws after a scathing editorial on the legislation was published in the Catholic Weekly.

On Friday,, Jewish groups pressured the newspaper, funded by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, to apologize and amend the piece, which compared the new laws with the Holocaust and criticized Dominic Perrottet’s leadership.

Maguire said comparing concentration camps and the right for someone to take their own life was “nasty”.

“If you want to confuse and not convince, well then you will use that language,” Maguire told the Guardian.

But he said Perrottet – who is Catholic – should have shown stronger leadership against a bill he opposed.

“Everybody should have stronger leadership on this,” he said.

“I had hoped [it wouldn’t pass], but if that’s the way it’s going to be, then people like me will have  tokeep putting forward the case more clearly and convincingly.”

The 87-year-old said older Australians “should be the ones who are being encouraged to lead us into the promised land”.

“I am not a legislation man, but I would have hoped that our culture would not have gone there, that it would have had a wider view of humanity and age,” he said.

The laws had faced opposition from senior Catholics both during the debate of the bill and after they passed. However, they were also supported by some Catholics.

Last year the treasurer, Matt Kean, committed to supporting the legislation despite his strong Catholic faith due to what he said was “an enduring attachment to personal liberty”.

“It infuses me as an individual and as a legislator. I believe that this parliament can gift that freedom to every individual in the state,” Kean said at the time.

The Catholic Weekly editorial pointed to comments made by Perrottet after the bill passed the upper house last week about being “proud” of how parliament handled the legislation.

“Those left wondering whether the Catholic premier had taken leave of his senses watched in amazement as he said he was ‘proud’ that the NSW parliament had presided over a respectful, tolerant, and sensitive debate,” the editorial read.

Bob Maguire

“No one could call a debate over the consignment of ethnic groups to the concentration camps, which ended in that outcome a ‘unifying’ experience.”

The piece, titled “Drop dead disgrace”, claimed Perrottet lacked “sufficient caliber” to oppose the laws while also aiming fellow Catholic opposition leader Chris Minns.

Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation Commission, called on the religious publication to apologize and remove the inflammatory sentence.

“The comparison in the editorial to Nazi Germany and the death camps is insensitive, outrageous, and has no place in this debate,” said commission chair Dr. Dvir Abramovich.

“There is no place for such tasteless and painful words in our civil discourse. We urge the magazine to remove this remark from the editorial, apologize, and refrain from employing such analogies in the future.”

The Guardian has confirmed the editorial has not been amended, nor did the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney plan to apologize for the comments.

“To quote two words out of a 1,400-word editorial is an egregious misrepresentation of the context of the piece,” a spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said.

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The piece also aimed Minns over a “brief” five-minute speech he made in opposition to the legislation.

The Weekly said the Liberal and Labor leaders held “the most political capital and authority to bring to bear in opposing such a victory” but had “lost their nerve”.

“The performance was bizarre and surreal, constituting one of the most humiliating examples of meek acceptance of evil ever seen,” the editorial said.

“Those who stood for life are fully entitled to ask where Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns were in the lobbying, the campaign to communicate the reality of euthanasia, the parliamentary cut and thrust necessary to opposing it?”

Minns declined to comment. Perrottet has been contacted for comment.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.