Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3099 ..

I want to thank colleagues for what has been a really respectful and well-considered debate that I am hopeful will lead to support for the remonstrance.

MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (3.49): As a Liberal I am and always will be a strong supporter of individual choice, personal freedom and limited government interference in our everyday lives and, to that end, I support voluntary assisted dying. I also believe, however, in the fundamental role of government in protecting our most vulnerable and, as many of my colleagues have already said today, I too am yet to see a system which I feel gets this balance right. I do believe that this chamber has the maturity to debate this issue but I reject Mr Ramsay’s and Mr Steel’s notion that we are in some way being hamstrung from having such a debate. As my colleague Mr Parton already mentioned today, we all too often find ourselves in this place debating issues that are outside our jurisdiction.

Political grandstanding by those opposite is a regular occurrence when I am sure the majority of Canberrans would prefer to see them getting on with the job. I am quite certain that the majority of Canberrans would have preferred to see us spend the day debating where their rates dollars are going and how their services may or may not improve. And yet here we are again. Why did those opposite suddenly think this issue is in some way different and they are being silenced on this?

I will not be supporting this motion. The substance of this motion is unnecessarily antagonistic in its wording. The suggestion that Senator Seselja or his federal parliamentary colleagues have not already seriously considered this issue is not fair and is not true. As Mr Hanson also acknowledged earlier today, I do not think anyone on our side of politics ever takes a conscience vote lightly.

Only yesterday Minister Fitzharris had a rather emotional outburst following our claim that she is not genuinely listening to the people of Canberra. So it seems rather hypocritical to be today accusing our federal senators of the same thing. To claim that the Senate has refused to take into account the views of the 420,000 citizens of the ACT is an incredibly arrogant claim that ignores the fact that there are varied views in relation to both assisted dying and territory rights right across our city.

It is this kind of antagonistic language which I cannot bring myself to support. And it is this antagonistic language that, rather ironically, further demonstrates that those opposite refuse to listen to anyone who disagrees with them and more often than not will not even acknowledge that these people exist or have a right to their views. To claim that opposition to the bill in question was in some way undemocratic, as this motion implies, or to claim that it was against freedom of speech, as Mr Pettersson has just implied, fails to acknowledge that this is the same democracy under which our senators were elected.

Ms Cheyne may not like it but Canberrans elected Senator Seselja. I also reject Ms Cheyne’s assertion, and that articulated in the motion, that the federal parliament should never determine the rights of Australian citizens based on their postcodes. The fact of the matter remains, whether we in this place like it or not, that we are a territory and not a state. While I believe in federalism I also believe in the constitution.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video