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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (18 September) . .

Page.. 2915..

preferable to create a formal requirement through planning legislation. I think the lower rate of complaints to MLAs about development applications is a clear indication of this. The legislation that I am presenting today simply seeks to extend this to provide yet another improvement in the planning process. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Berry) adjourned to the next sitting.

Euthanasia—commonwealth limitation

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.16): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the:

(a) importance that many people in the Territory place on their right to die with dignity;

(b) ACT is subject to an undemocratic and discriminatory restriction, imposed federally through the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, which specifically prevents the Australian Territories from making laws which would permit euthanasia; and

(c) limitation discriminates against people in the ACT, who do not possess the same rights as people living in Australian States; and

(2) calls on the Speaker to write to the Australian Prime Minister and Minister for Health, requesting on behalf of the ACT Legislative Assembly, that the Australian Parliament repeal the limitation imposed by the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 and to restore the right of the ACT and other Territories to pass laws on the issue of euthanasia.

Madam Assistant Speaker, the people of the ACT, just like people in broader Australia, believe strongly that they should have the right to make choices over their own life and death. They believe that at the end of their life, at a time that is deeply personal and meaningful and often involves pain and suffering, they should have the right to die with dignity, how and when they choose. To many people there are few choices more important.

It is well known that the Greens support the right of people to make decisions at the end of their life, and we support the creation of a compassionate, safe and workable scheme for voluntary euthanasia. In fact the majority of Australians agree and also support such a scheme. Who wants to suffer at the end of their life, deprived of their dignity and most personal of choices?

But this motion is not about establishing a euthanasia scheme in the ACT. If the ACT were to go down the path of allowing euthanasia, it would of course involve extensive community consultation, input of experts and no doubt vigorous debate in the Assembly. It would involve all of the parliamentary and community engagement mechanisms that are appropriate for such an important change, and governed overall of course by the right of ACT citizens to vote their government in or out.

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