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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3066 ..


MR PARTON (Brindabella) (12.03): I want to thank Mr Barr for bringing this forward. I want to thank my party and, in particular, Mr Coe for allowing this to be a conscience issue. I am continually dismayed at those opposite on the number of occasions they wish to debate matters outside of our control.

Government members interjecting—

MR PARTON: I suggest that you hear me out. I think there are far too many debates in this chamber and far too many comments made about what a bunch of federal representatives are doing in another parliament far removed from ours. However, if I stand here and call upon us to stay out of their business, it would be very clearly a double standard for me not to call on them to stay out of our business.

This is an issue I have consulted widely on. I have had many conversations with constituents, elected members from other jurisdictions and journalists. Although I am on the record through one media agency as not supporting the Leyonhjelm motion, I cannot continue to support that position, so I will be supporting this motion.

We need to understand that this particular motion is not about assisted dying. We need to understand that this debate today is purely about the rights of those living in the ACT and the Northern Territory. Throughout this debate over so many years the connections have confused this. I think it was Lindsay Tanner who voted for the Kevin Andrews bill and who said in the debate something like: “Would this be different if we had a territory considering capital punishment?” But I do not think that is the issue.

As a member of the opposition, I often do not have faith that this chamber will make the right decision on a variety of matters. If I had faith that this chamber as it stands now would make the right decision on every issue I would be on the wrong side of the chamber. I sit in here day after day and I watch various motions get debated and amended. I watch bills being debated which often end up passed by this chamber in a way that I do not agree with. But that is democracy. We went to the polls in 2016, and there are more of them than there are of us because that is what the people said.

This motion is about democracy. I continue to have deep conversations about voluntary assisted dying, and I echo a number of the concerns Mr Hanson has shared with the chamber today. As disappointing as it may be to journalists who have asked me about my position on this most important conscience issue, I have not arrived at a final decision. I am still conflicted. I am still listening and I am still seeking out more information. I wish that this were a simple issue, but it is not. But in regard to the issues raised in this motion, as is the case for a number of my colleagues, I will be wholeheartedly supporting it.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (12.07): I would also like to thank the Chief Minister for bringing forward this motion. I start by reflecting on some of the speeches today. I walked into the chamber today with a group of Canberra College students. They have now left. But


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