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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1798..


MR KAINE: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, now that we know the facts, would you consider referring the report to the Leader of the Opposition to see whether she still thinks it is unsatisfactory?

MR HUMPHRIES: I think the Opposition will be very well placed to receive this report, Mr Speaker, and perhaps Ms Follett could knock it into shape with her very keen intelligence and sharp wit on this matter.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a brief statement on this matter.

MR SPEAKER: Do you claim, under standing order 46, to have been misrepresented?

MS FOLLETT: No; I wish to make a personal explanation.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I have been advised by my office that what we saw was the draft of this document; that we sent it back saying that it was unacceptable; and that we gave no authority for it to be paid for.

Mr Humphries: But you paid for it.

MS FOLLETT: Not on my authority.

Euthanasia

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, could you outline the Government's policy on euthanasia and could you reassure me and the Canberra community that your party will not adopt a Stalinist-type approach to this moral issue, as some people in this house have attempted to do?

MRS CARNELL: The Government believes that these sorts of substantially moral issues which deal with human life should not be dictated by party policy. We recognise that any individual's conscience is the primary source of guidance on such issues. Mr Speaker, the ACT Government is not alone in this view. Indeed, the New South Wales Labor Government has adopted the same position on a proposal by Labor MLC Paul O'Grady to introduce a private members Bill to enact voluntary euthanasia. In a letter from the New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, to the General Secretary of the Anglican Church's General Synod, Reverend Dr Kaye, Mr Carr says:

In recognition of the sensitive moral and personal issues surrounding voluntary euthanasia, the Government's view is that the matter should not be treated in a partisan manner. Accordingly, the outcome of any debate in the Parliament on the issue will be determined on the basis of a conscience vote.


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