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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3946 ..


He then went to seek advice from the Clerk about whether or not he even had to table the remonstrance from our parliaments. But I understand that he has now done that and that the remonstrances were also tabled in the House of Representatives, where we were ably represented by Andrew Lee MP, who spoke about that when Speaker Tony Smith tabled them.

With the federal government in such disarray, we know that realistically our best chance of getting the same rights as other jurisdictions will not happen until after the next election. But that does not mean that the fight stops. It does not mean that we give up. It does not mean that we wait however many months or, realistically, perhaps weeks that it is going to be. We need to keep talking about this.

We must continue to heap pressure on this country’s federal representatives, our federal representatives, to do what is right. In this matter of public importance, I call on my fellow members and the Canberra community to keep up that fight, whether or not you support voluntary assisted dying. This is because we deserve to consider whether to legislate on all issues ourselves.

We should be speaking to our friends and families in other states. We should be making the position clear in the lead-up to the next election. We should be asking our friends and families in other states to consider how their current members voted and asking whether they want the people who represent them to be not affording citizens’ rights to their friends and family in the ACT and the Northern Territory. Do they not want to give us the same rights? I would not think so. We would not want to be denying people rights if they were living in another jurisdiction. I hope people take that issue incredibly seriously in the lead-up to the next election.

Madam Assistant Speaker, it is absolutely imperative that we have the same legislative rights that the other states enjoy. We are all people. We are all humans. We are not second class and we should not be treated as second class. Enough is enough.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (3.48): The Greens and I believe that the people of the ACT are just the same as the other people in Australia. We should actually have the same rights. I understand that the commonwealth government may well reasonably feel that there is part of Canberra’s planning—the parliamentary triangle and areas like that—where it has a specific right and needs to be able to make legislation to control it. But in terms of our own life and death issues, I cannot see how the commonwealth government can feel that it has a superior right to that of the people of the ACT.

I have been reflecting on the debate we had here yesterday afternoon about abortion. The Leader of the Opposition stood up and said, very generously, that as far as the Liberal Party was concerned, conscience issues, issues of life and death, were left to individuals’ own consciences. I guess all I am saying is that the federal Liberal government could have the same views as the ACT Liberal opposition appears to have. But unfortunately they have demonstrated fairly recently in the federal government that that is not the view that the other elected parliamentarians have of the people in the ACT.


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