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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . .

Page.. 525..

choice in regard to palliative care services. This is very important as well. This is about people having a range of choices at the end of their life, and being able to access palliative care services is definitely part of that. We have all heard stories from the facility here in the ACT about the quality of care and the level of respect that people receive. I think it is reassuring for people as they enter that phase of life to know there are facilities such as our palliative care centre here in the ACT available to them.

I also want to touch on the issue of the medical use of cannabis, because it is something that is relevant at the end of life as well, particularly for people facing cancer and other issues around terminal illness. We will debate that on another day. I do not want to prosecute the matter too much here but I encourage members to continue to look at the evidence on this matter. This is part of the spectrum of providing people with a range of care options. There is clear evidence that people find it beneficial, particularly, although not exclusively, for pain management when they are dealing with difficult cancer treatments. Certainly, in terms of thinking about end of life and issues such as palliative care, we need to continue to look at how we can make it possible for people to access cannabis as a product that can benefit some people when traditional medical approaches do not necessarily benefit them. I will leave my remarks on that because we will continue to discuss it at other times in other motions.

I conclude by thanking Ms Porter for her contribution to this and similar debates over the years. I know that she has taken these issues up and that she has provided a forum for other people to express their views. That has been a valuable thing. Today she has provided us with both some practical short-term strategies to continue to enhance the ACT's response to end of-life issues and she has also flagged some of the bigger, longer term issues that we need to continue to work on.

I hope we reach a day when we are far more advanced than we are now in the way we deal with end-of-life issues. But we are on a journey, and I thank Ms Porter for bringing forward this motion today because it helps us to progress along that journey. I look forward to offering my support for the motion when we come to a vote.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.57): I thank members for their contributions to the debate. I am concerned that Mr Hanson seems to be saying that this Assembly is still to be treated as a virtual child, not to be trusted to consider debating some issues that, obviously, according to Mr Hanson, will be left to the grown-ups. It is high time that this impediment to our sovereignty was removed and the government was allowed to govern without this handicap. The Assembly should be properly empowered to do its job.

On the question of any vote on voluntary euthanasia that could at some later date, and in another Assembly, no doubt, be put forward by members in this place, I do not think those on the other side of the chamber have some exclusivity when it comes to conscience votes. I am not sure about his presumption. Is he suggesting that there are not different views by members on this side? Is he suggesting that these members will be somehow gagged in this debate or forced to vote in a bloc? In fact it is not party

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