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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3065 ..


follow by any means that the mere fact that a jurisdiction can look at this matter means voluntary assisted dying will go through.

I draw to the attention of the Assembly and of the Senate that Victoria has considered the matter and has passed legislation. Three jurisdictions have considered the matter and not passed legislation. Western Australia is currently looking at the matter, and we anticipate that there will be findings of a parliamentary inquiry very shortly. Different jurisdictions look at the matter and come to different views, but they have the authority and the right and the responsibility to look at the matter.

I have made clear in the past and I want to make clear again that there is no ACT government view on voluntary assisted dying. There is no ACT Labor caucus view on voluntary assisted dying. There is no proposal. It has not been considered because we cannot consider it. What may happen if the territories are given the right to be able to consider it is a matter for the elected representatives and those people who carry that responsibility.

I note that former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has publicly supported the repeal of the Andrews restrictions. I also note that Mr Stanhope has very publicly questioned whether voluntary assisted dying should occur. Again, he is able to distinguish between the two. It is important that we understand that if the capacity of this Assembly to make laws in this area is restored—it did exist and was taken away—it is at that stage that the members of this place may consider, and not necessarily, the proposal. If at that stage it occurred, it would happen with all of the evidence, including I note, any recommendations out of the current committee process in the ACT.

I draw to the attention of the Assembly another correlation that takes place at times. Clearly there are very important matters of conscience in relation to the consideration of this matter. I, too, greatly respect those. I also note that it is not necessarily the case that people of faith will automatically take one position or another. There are people of faith who, on the issue of voluntary assisted dying, will oppose it and then there are others who will not oppose it.

The conflation of a number of issues is getting in the way of the substantive debate at this stage, which is: what are the rights of the people who live in the ACT and the Northern Territory? This motion is about respect for the people of the territories. This is about the fact that the federal parliament needs, in my opinion, to enable the territory legislative bodies to take the responsibility they did have and that was taken away. We need to take the responsibility seriously and fully. It is a deep topic that gives rise to the context of this debate, but the debate itself is about the rights of the people who live in the territories.

I believe we can be strident and I believe we can be unified across the chamber and across the territories to protect the rights of the people in this city and the rights of the people in the Northern Territory to be represented on matters about which people feel so very deeply. I commend the motion.


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