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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2983 ..

Ms Cheyne: It was on the notice paper.

MS LEE: I read the Canberra Times before the notice paper was issued—given that all three parties came together and passed, with unanimous support in this place, the motion that we did in March, it is incredibly disappointing that only after yesterday, when this Assembly came together unanimously to pass an Australian-first in outlawing stealthing, and the motion that is actually directly after this to recognise Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, today has been muddied by Ms Cheyne making this extremely important issue political. I know this is so important to her—I know that—but it is clear from today’s antics that she is putting politics above this issue; and that is extremely disappointing.

There is also no doubt that, whilst Ms Cheyne and Mr Rattenbury go on at length about the federal coalition, it is worthwhile remembering that there are federal Labor representatives who are also opposed to giving the ACT the right to debate and legislate on voluntary assisted dying. We need to remember that. Whilst, of course, it is an extreme disappointment that we again are being told that we cannot debate and legislate on this issue, let us make sure that we are taking into consideration the full picture.

The Canberra Liberals support territory rights. We signed a tripartisan motion earlier this year. Our position has not changed. And it is incredibly disappointing, appallingly disappointing, that Ms Cheyne, who received the letter from the federal Attorney-General, which is dated 1 October, has chosen this manner to bring it forward to the chamber today—incredibly disappointing.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.35): I rise to commend the comments of Minister Cheyne and Minister Rattenbury in relation to territory rights. I will keep my comments brief. I have a few points that I want to make. In particular, I refer to the letter received by Minister Cheyne and Minister Uibo of the Northern Territory from Michaelia Cash.

Mr Assistant Speaker, like you, I was elected less than 12 months ago. I spend most of my time corresponding with constituents. Imagine, if you will, the contempt a constituent would hold me in if they wrote me a letter and said, “Mr Davis, I am very worried about the nature strip at the front of my house. When is that nature strip going to get mowed?”, and I responded to them, “I thank you very much for your email. Nature strips are very important. There are lots of nature strips in Canberra. We mow lots of nature strips every year. And thank you again for your email.” They would rightly hold me in a bit of contempt.

That is why reading this letter published in the Canberra Times today from the federal Attorney-General is so frustrating and so intellectually insulting, because it ignores some of the key points raised in the joint letter of Minister Cheyne and Minister Uibo of the Northern Territory. It completely ignores the principle of territory rights and chooses, I would cynically argue, to focus the debate and focus the letter on the very emotional, very deeply personal debate around voluntary assisted dying. I do not need to tell you, Mr Assistant Speaker, that this means so much more than voluntary assisted dying.

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