Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3064 ..
people vote against their conscience is abhorrent to me. Maybe it is what separates us as Liberals from those on the other side, but I would never put a demand on Mrs Dunne, Senator Seselja, Mr Coe or others who may have different world views to say, “You must vote against your conscience.” I would never ask people to do that.
It is disappointing that people come into this place, as Ms Cheyne has, and say that people should be ashamed of their conscience and that to vote in that way is disgusting. That is unedifying, and it certainly is a different world view from that which we on this side of the chamber have.
Increasingly, on the left, if you disagree with their point of view because of deeply held convictions, religious or otherwise, you get demonised, and that is wrong. Let me be very clear that in the battle of ideals there are those who have different views to me. But I respect people who have deeply held convictions. I often do not hold them myself on these matters, but I respect their convictions. I will defend to the very last their right to have their say and to stand by their convictions.
I support Zed’s ability to stand by his convictions and his deeply held views, just as I do for others. I echo the point Mr Coe made earlier in his debate: let’s not go partisan on this; let’s not demonise or slur or smear those who put forward a different view because of those convictions. Let’s have this debate respectfully and let’s acknowledge that there are different views and that those views matter to people just as deeply to your views matter to you.
MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.57): It is important to note that, although we acknowledge the context of this debate which arose because of the so-called Andrews amendment from some decades ago, it is not primarily a debate around voluntary assisted dying or euthanasia, as it is called. I believe it is possible and important for us to be able to distinguish between those two. The context simply arises because of the limitation placed on territories in this particular area through sections 23(1A) and 23(1B) of the self-government act.
The calls for respectful debate that are coming across the chamber at the moment are actually reinforcing the importance of the very motion today. The fact that we can have this debate demonstrates to the federal parliament that we are grown up enough to be able to have this debate and that the people of ACT deserve the right for their elected members to be able to have this debate.
There does seem to have been in the Senate—either wilfully or not so—a significant misunderstanding of the nature of the debate and the topic before them. As the Chief Minister has acknowledged, the views of a number of senators on voluntary assisted dying—the background context—differ markedly but they have recognised that there is an unreasonable and unwarranted restriction on the ACT and the Northern Territory. This is a matter regarding the democratic rights of the people in those territories.
If we look at the evidence from around Australia in the state jurisdictions that have the constitutional authority to consider this matter and who have considered it, it does not