Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3057 ..
This is an unusual motion. This does not happen often but, given the significance of this issue to the people of Canberra and to Northern Territorians, it is important that this parliament be clear in its position to the Australian parliament and that we continue our advocacy to restore territory rights. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.27): The opposition was happy to grant leave to have this very serious debate here today on what is, of course, a very significant motion for the ACT. The Canberra Liberals have decided to treat this as a conscience issue because for many people on this side of the chamber it does engage our conscience, as I believe this issue is inextricably linked to euthanasia.
Whilst I accept that there are some, including in my own party, who believe that this is fundamentally a territory rights issue—and I know there are many Canberrans that have that view as well—as far as my conscience goes, this, to me, is a stepping stone to euthanasia. I know that there are people that disagree with that, and I accept that. But as far as my conscience is concerned, I do not support the repeal of the Andrews bill because I think it would lead to euthanasia, and that is something that I am opposed to.
I hope that all members of this place do not engage in partisan politics on this issue. I certainly have not to date, and I have no intention of doing so. As will become very clear over the course of this debate, there are a variety of views within the Canberra Liberals, and I believe the variety of views within the Canberra Liberals reflects the variety of views within the Canberra community at large on this issue, be it territory rights or the underlying issue of euthanasia.
I note that the preamble to the motion that we are debating today has explicitly made mention of end of life issues and voluntary assisted dying. That is why I believe that is further evidence that what we are debating today is very much intertwined with euthanasia. It is not just about territory rights, in my mind. The reason I call for it not to be a partisan debate is that I think the issue of territory rights and euthanasia deserves much more than a partisan debate.
It is, of course, significant to note that there were members on both sides of the Senate chamber that voted differently to their colleagues. I note, of course, that senators Dodson, O’Neill and Gallacher voted against the repeal of the Andrews bill.
On the fundamental issue of euthanasia I also note that my view is somewhat consistent with those of Paul Keating and Jon Stanhope. There are a variety of views on this issue, both in the community and in each of our respective political parties. Having said that, let me reiterate that, as per my conscience, I will be voting no on this issue, but there are a variety of views and I respect all those views.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (11.31): Madam Speaker, the vote was 34 to 36; there were two votes in it. I am devastated for Canberra citizens who are sick of being treated as second class and I am devastated for all the people who are genuinely suffering, and their families. I am devastated for all those who want to have choice