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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3949 ..


down a pill testing trial. I do note that there are some encouraging signs that those opposite are starting to recognise the importance of respecting self-determination.

Pill testing is a harm minimisation policy that Canberrans support, that the evidence supports and that this government is leading the nation to deliver. Even though he still opposes pill testing, it is indeed encouraging that Mr Hanson has recently communicated to the media that he did not write again to his federal counterparts. I certainly hope that this means that he and his colleagues on the opposite benches are coming around to the recognition that Canberrans deserve the right to self-determination, even where the elected representatives may differ on the particular issues at hand.

There will continue to be areas where Canberra is more progressive and more forward looking than the federal parliament. Today’s matter of public importance, which recognises the importance of self-determination, is as relevant as ever.

As Attorney-General, I will continue to join with my colleagues on this side of the chamber to vocally and actively support the rights of Canberrans to build a society that lives up to their vision and their values. This government recognises that Canberra aspires to be the most progressive, connected and egalitarian place that it can possibly be. Let me say unequivocally that I will keep on vocally supporting our right to self-determination and our right to express our progressive values in laws.

As a community, we make decisions about a range of important rights and protections in our community. We enact laws to protect and to prevent discrimination. We make decisions about criminal sentences and about the right to a fair trial. We are elected as members to make these decisions on behalf of the people of Canberra and, as a self-governing territory, members of this community have the right to participate in this process democratically. They vote and they seek to have us as members here and represent their views. The fact that a topic is controversial and interesting to national politicians should never be cause to abrogate the rights and responsibilities inherent in self-government.

I hope and trust that all members of this Assembly will recognise that, as representatives of Canberrans, we should be strident and we should be unified in protecting the rights of people in this city to be represented on the issues that they care about, including on those issues where we differ across the chamber on the substance of the matters. I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing this important matter before the assembly today.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (4.01): The opposition has of course canvassed our views on this extensively, most recently in last month’s remonstrance motion. There, of course, we treated this issue, and the issue of euthanasia in particular, as a conscience issue, just like we treated the issue of abortion in the same way. To that end, we do not have anything further to add to this debate, other than what we have said in recent weeks.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Disability, Minister for Children, Youth and Families,


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