Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3071 ..
dying. I think that that is wrong and I think the 36 senators were wrong in voting against the territory rights bill last night.
I particularly think it was wrong for Senator Seselja to vote against that bill last night. Senator Seselja has proved that he may be a senator from the ACT but he does not represent the ACT. Democracy was denied last night. It was not a great example of democracy, just because there was a vote in the parliament. Those people are not from the ACT. They do not walk the streets of Weston. They do not represent Kate and they should make sure that in future debates they reconsider these matters.
I will certainly be encouraging all of my federal Labor parliamentary colleagues to reconsider those matters very carefully. That includes Senator Dodson from Western Australia, Senator Alex Gallacher from South Australia and Senator Deb O’Neill from New South Wales. I will certainly be asking them why it is that they think that they can have a say in the way that the territory parliament should be able to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.27): I will be opposing this remonstrance motion today. I know that people know my views on euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying or whatever, and that I am opposed to it. But I will also express my views about the notion of territory rights, which are probably almost as unfashionable as my views on euthanasia.
I tend to be a constitutionalist. I believe in the Australian Constitution. And one of the things that have been quite clear in the evidence to the committee on end of life issues is that even those people who object to the provisions of section 23 of the self-government act acknowledge that those provisions are legal, that the commonwealth parliament has every right to have made those provisions and that they are constitutional and can stand. I agree with that. The commonwealth has the power in the constitution to make laws in relation to the territory, which is why we have self-government and why Norfolk Island does not any longer have self-government. It is also incumbent upon the commonwealth to continue to keep those laws under review, which is what the Senate did in the last week, culminating in last night’s vote.
I want to put on the record that when the Andrews bill was first proposed, as a staffer in this place I supported it, although my boss did not and we respectfully disagreed on the subject. I supported the passage of the Andrews bill and I support the voting down of the Leyonhjelm bill last night.
I want to put on record my appreciation for those people who voted and who thought about it on both sides, because it was, as the Chief Minister said and from my reading and my listening, a very respectful and statesmanlike debate. I think that most of what has been said in this place today has been respectful and statesmanlike. I have to emphasise “most”. I think the mere fact that we are speaking about these issues gives the lie to the point Mr Steel made that we cannot talk about these things. We are talking about these things. We cannot legislate about these things, and there are reasons for that, and some of us agree and some of us disagree.