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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3070 ..


wide range of inputs and the vote was taken. But I am sure this is not the end of the road. I, too, will keep listening to the community to hear their views and values.

But, at the end of the day, I respect Australian democracy and I look forward to future respectful debates on these issues, debates that allow for all views and for people to express those views without being told they are wrong, ignorant or uncaring just because they have a different view on this very emotional matter.

I also hope that in the coming months Canberrans are shown that same level of respect in terms of democratic process so that we can make a stronger case for territory rights. Whilst I will not be supporting this motion today because the debate has been so closely entangled with the issue of voluntary euthanasia, I do support territory rights and I look forward to the future developments and debates on this issue.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (12.22): I, too, rise in support of the Chief Minister’s motion today. All of us in this place have come here because we were elected by the people of the ACT. To get here many of us have run campaigns and particularly got out there doorknocking and meeting with constituents face to face to hear about the issues that matter to them. During the election campaign I knocked on thousands of doors. In the last few weeks of the campaign I was doorknocking the streets of Weston. I was out by myself on a weekday, and the thing about doorknocking on weekdays is that you come across a lot of people who are at home sick. They are sick at home from work and trying to get better.

I came across a lady, who I will call Kate, sitting on her daughter’s verandah in a street in Weston. It was a lovely sunny day. She was out there enjoying the sun. I struck up a conversation with her and told her that I was running in the election in just a few weeks time and I wanted to hear from her about what mattered to her, what issues. We ended up having about a 45-minute discussion in her home, with a cup of tea. That is not a very efficient way to go about doorknocking, believe me, but it was certainly very worthwhile. I remember the conversation very vividly. Kate told me about a whole range of issues. She told me how great she thought the Chief Minister was. She’d seen him at Politics in the Pub just a few weeks beforehand.

But in the conversation she also told me, even though she looked very well, that she only had a few weeks to live and that she would not actually be able to vote on election day and was intending to cast her ballot earlier. She had come to terms with her own death, which I thought was just extraordinary. She was very calm, very rational. She talked to me about the issue of euthanasia. While she did not think it would necessarily be an issue for her—the need to be able to access voluntary assisted dying—she thought it was a really important issue that an elected representative should be bringing forward and supporting in the Assembly.

I explained to her the ridiculous and untenable situation that the ACT parliament is in as a result of the Andrews bill in 1997. She, being originally from South Australia, just could not explain the rationality of that bill and encouraged me to continue advocacy against that bill and that law. That is why today I will be supporting the Chief Minister’s motion, because the reality is that we do not have the ability to even discuss in this place the matters that Kate raised with me around voluntary assisted


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