Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 August 2022) . . Page.. 2336 ..
Rob, you are a wonderful man. I am really sorry I forgot your birthday!
Federal government—territory rights
DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (6.33): This is a great week for Canberrans and for residents of the Northern Territory. Finally, we are seeing the correction of a historical wrong that was inflicted on us back in 1997. The Andrews bill took advantage of a power that the commonwealth uniquely holds over the territories, and that it does not have over the states, to deprive us of rights that all other Australians have enjoyed. The Andrews bill removed our right here in this Assembly on behalf of the community who have elected us to represent them to debate and legislate on laws that apply to them—a right that every other state has.
Since the Andrews bill, we have been gagged on the right to debate and legislate for voluntary assisted dying for terminally ill people in our community. Every Australian state has passed voluntary assisted dying laws. I know this matter is important to my constituents. I have heard from too many people in the community about their frustration that the right of terminally ill adults to choose how to end their life is not afforded to them and that they are forced to suffer, to live in pain, and that other members of our community are forced to watch them suffer.
Canberrans are denied the dignity that is afforded to our interstate counterparts. We are denied a basic human right and we are at odds with the rest of the country. I have had people in tears approaching me outside shopping centres, begging for this change. I am overjoyed that this is hopefully set to change. We are halfway there. Despite numerous previous attempts to introduce similar legislation over the last 25 years, I am confident that we now have a progressive federal government, with the right numbers of members of parliament in both houses, who will vote with the best interests of our citizens at heart.
I would like to commend Mr Barr’s and Ms Cheyne’s efforts, as Chief Minister and Minister for Human Rights, for their continued advocacy on this important matter. I would also like to thank all our federal Labor members for their ongoing advocacy and particularly commend Alicia Payne and Luke Gosling for their commitment to this bill and seeing it through the House of Representatives.
Similarly to my colleague Mr Pettersson, as the bill progresses to the Senate, I implore senators from all over Australia to vote for territory rights, to do the right thing. I encourage all members of our community to continue to lobby and advocate for this bill to be passed in the federal parliament, and I thank again those who have taken the time to express their views on this matter to me previously. Thank you.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (6.36): I am loath to delay birthday celebrations for Ms Clay! I do hope she’s able to get some time to prepare for that.
I want to speak about a budget-related issue and, in particular, the funding with respect to my electorate of Ginninderra. Another year, another budget has come and