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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 7 Hansard (2 August) . . Page.. 2686 ..


Federal government—territory rights

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (5.34): I also rise to speak in support of territory rights. In the Labor Party we stand by a very fundamental principle, which is one vote, one value. Since 1997 the value of our vote here in the ACT has meant less than in any other state in the country, and that needs to be overturned.

Members in the federal parliament who represent Menzies, Hasluck or a range of electorates outside the ACT, or indeed senators representing states and not the ACT, may have a genuine interest in the territory and what happens here. But they do not live here, with the exception of the Prime Minister. They do not live here, and over the 30 years of this Assembly's existence, I think we have demonstrated that we can have a mature and respectful discussion about a whole range of different matters, and that should also include voluntary assisted dying. Just as every other state has the right to vote on these laws, we in the Assembly should have the right to be able to vote on those laws, too.

Victoria has passed those laws. We should also remember that New South Wales has very actively considered whether they want those laws in place in that jurisdiction. While it was voted down, they may indeed seek to bring those laws on again. There could be a very peculiar situation, with the ACT being an island within New South Wales, where they have voluntary assisted dying, and Victoria has voluntary assisted dying, and we have no ability to legislate in that area. It is obvious what the repercussions of that could be, with people potentially moving interstate to be able to access these sorts of rights.

When it comes to this debate, I hope that members and senators are thinking about the fact that after 30 years this place is capable of having a respectful and mature discussion. Regardless of their views on euthanasia, they should do the right thing and make sure that they are treating all Canberrans with the same respect afforded to every other single citizen in this country who lives in a state.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.37 pm until Tuesday, 14 August 2018, at 10 am.


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