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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3671..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Mr Speaker, my reasons for moving this amendment are the same as with the previous bill, that is, to remove any doubt that the section does not authorise the making of a health direction for euthanasia. The attorney's comments probably will be the same as those he made in regard to the previous bill. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.31): In support of this amendment, I will go to a couple of points that were touched on at length in the previous debate. This is being done quite purposely. I understand the point that the attorney will soon make, but I think that the attorney's point does not go to the full extent of the implications, especially of the Medical Treatment Act.

The self-government act does not say, for instance, that euthanasia is illegal in the ACT. It says that the territory government cannot make laws in this area. Mr Stefaniak's amendment is essentially about the principles laid out in the Legislation Act. It takes all the bits of law that relate to a particular activity and puts them in the one piece of legislation. Mr Corbell can say that it is superfluous, that it is a belts and braces approach to put this provision in this piece of legislation, but it is also consistent with the way we draft legislation and the approach that we have taken since the new Legislation Act came into effect.

I would suggest to the minister that, notwithstanding the previous conversation we have had and the previous points that he has made, he consider incorporating this amendment in this very important piece of legislation which could lead to deaths, which may be construed as euthanasia simply because this is the right place to put it as these are the things that we are talking about. Health directions, and eventually advance health directions, will go to the heart of issues relating to euthanasia. That is why they should be in this piece of legislation and also because, as things currently stand, the self-government act does not outlaw euthanasia in the ACT. The self-government act says that we may not make laws. Putting in this amendment would reinforce what is in the self-government act, but it would go one step further and put what is in the self-government act in law in the ACT.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (11.33): The government will not be supporting this amendment for exactly the same reasons as I indicated in response to Mr Stefaniak's amendment to the Powers of Attorney Bill.

As to Mrs Dunne's point, it follows that, if the territory is unable to make laws for euthanasia, euthanasia is currently not permitted in the territory. As I have indicated previously, it is not possible to authorise an unlawful action through a directive through an enduring power of attorney. For those reasons, the amendment is unnecessary and the government will not be supporting it.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (11.34): If I could exercise my right to speak twice, I hear what the attorney says, but I think Mrs Dunne makes a very valid point in relation to putting anything beyond doubt. Whilst the self-government act says that the Assembly has no power to make laws permitting, or having the effect of permitting, an intention to kill another person—in other words, euthanasia—this amendment removes any doubt. It states that it does not authorise the making of a health direction for euthanasia.


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