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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3069 ..


Thank you, Chief Minister, for bringing on this motion today. Thank you, Minister Rattenbury, for also standing up for the rights of Canberrans. Thank you to everyone in the chamber today for their polite, respectful and honest debate. This is something that we should be doing more often—working with and for the people of Canberra.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (12.17): I will be voting for this motion. I am very proud to be a member of the Legislative Assembly. I worked hard to be here and I was supported by thousands of Canberrans to be their voice. I respect the ACT Legislative Assembly and, as disappointing as it is to be in opposition, I respect Australia’s democratic system and the rights of Canberrans to elect their representatives in the territory parliament.

It is this chamber which comprises Canberrans, elected by Canberrans, that should have the right to make laws for Canberrans. I support the thrust of this motion insofar as it calls on the Australian Senate to reflect on their vote on 15 August in denying the citizens of the ACT their democratic rights.

As the Leader of the Opposition said earlier, the substantive issue of euthanasia cannot be ignored in this debate. As the Leader of the Opposition also said, this is a matter of conscience for the Canberra Liberals. It is an issue of enormous importance that carries with it a strong responsibility that it be debated robustly and explored in great detail on issues of social conscience, of dignity, of health, of the rights of those with a disability, of legal implications. For that reason, I will be paying very close attention to the findings of the Assembly’s select committee.

In short, Madam Speaker, this is not an issue that can or should be decided lightly. In voting for this motion I am not saying that I will be voting for euthanasia; nor am I saying that I will be voting against euthanasia, should the matter come before this chamber. But this is an issue that must rightly be debated in this chamber. For that reason I support the motion.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (12.19): I appreciate the opportunity to speak briefly on this matter. The grievances that are put forward in this motion cast doubt on the ability of federal parliamentarians to make a decision. Democracy is a process. Democracy takes time. There will be, no doubt, future debates on this matter presented in a private member’s bill.

I have thought long and hard about these issues, both in terms of territory rights and euthanasia. At the end of the day, it does come down to a matter of conscience. For me personally, I do not support voluntary euthanasia. I have personal experience with this issue, having watched close family members suffer with mental health and other illnesses. I also have values based on this particular issue. As a values driven person, I am guided by my conscience.

This issue under debate is about life and death. These are big issues. I know that Canberrans have views and these views may be different from mine. I also acknowledge that our colleagues in the Senate considered all of these views. They considered expert submissions and advice. They took their time. They listened to a


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