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Dodson slams 'hateful' Australian Christian Lobby for invoking him on First Nations euthanasia stance

Tom Zaunmayr -

Federal Yawuru Senator Pat Dodson has blasted the Australian Christian Lobby for using his anti-euthanasia stance as propaganda while peddling 'offensive' views on Indigenous issues.

Mr Dodson's comments came as legislation to introduce voluntary euthanasia laws were raised in Federal Parliament on Thursday to bring the Northern Territory into line with the rest of the nation.

Those laws, which Mr Dodson voted against in 2018, would remove constraints on the legislative powers of the ACT and NT preventing the territories from legislating euthanasia.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Dodson said the ACL had used his opposition to campaign against euthanasia laws under the guise of protecting Indigenous lives.

"Yet this very same organisation, which purports to be concerned about First Nations peoples, has been peddling offensive propaganda which scoffs at the Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and belittles arguments for a First Nations Voice to this parliament," he said.

"In an 18-minute rant back in June (ACL director Martyn Iles) railed against the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a pagan document, which he screwed up and tossed at the camera.

"A Voice to parliament, Iles asserts, is the agenda of critical race theorists who want to divide people on the basis of their skin colour and to implant, in his words, some kind of trouble, some kind of cancer into an otherwise good system.

"Iles compounded his offense in another video only a couple of weeks ago when he said he eschews the welcome to country because it affirms paganism and entangles one in false spirituality."

Mr Dodson said Mr Iles' "hateful diatribes" were distressful and had no place in the national discourse.

While planning to abstain from voting this time around, Mr Dodson said he still held the same reservations which led him to vote against the laws in 2018.

Describing it as "whitefella law", Mr Dodson said research showed about 90 per cent of Aboriginal Territorians were opposed to euthanasia.

"We nurse our elderly into their death in our own communities, sometimes at great

personal sacrifice," he said.

"As I said in this place four years ago, any proposal by the Northern Territory to reintroduce assisted suicide legislation must occur in consultation with First Nations health services and communities because First Nations peoples are at a higher risk of being in a situation where assisted dying might take place.

"I have pondered deeply how to approach the legislation before us now and, in spite of my fundamental spiritual opposition to euthanasia, I have never held to the slippery slope argument."

Mr Dodson said he accepted the widespread public support, and that adequate safeguards would be in place, and did not want to be the one no vote which sank the legislation.

The NT was the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce voluntary euthanasia in 1995, before the Federal Government intervened in 1997.

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