Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3268 ..
The joint motion of 8 October in the names of me and Minister Rattenbury, including the clause in question which Senator Seselja has written to you about, Madam Speaker, was one which reflected persistent media reporting, which reflected quotes from Senator McMahon, and which reflected an opinion article by Senator Seselja himself. On this basis, the motion was drafted from an evidence base which Minister Rattenbury and I are happy to walk members through for their awareness.
On 4 July 2021, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Northern Territory Senator McMahon planned to introduce a private member’s bill to reinstate the Northern Territory’s power to legislate on the issue. Included in that article was a direct quote from Senator McMahon. The article stated:
“I did originally try to include the ACT in it, but in my conversations with Senator Zed Seselja he wasn’t keen to do that,” Senator McMahon said. “If Zed’s not interested and not going to support it, I don’t think it would be worth doing. I’d be better off just doing it for the NT.”
The article goes on to report that Senator Seselja was unavailable for comment.
Madam Speaker, this was followed by repeated reporting across multiple outlets for an extended period, much of which was not refuted. Indeed, there is an article in the RiotACT on the very next day, 5 July, which includes quotes from me. It is odd to quote myself, but I will, because it goes to my belief that Senator McMahon was speaking the truth. I said:
Even when invited to speak for Canberrans on an issue as important as Territory rights, Zed only speaks for himself … By asking NT Senator Sam McMahon to leave the ACT out of her prospective bill to restore Territory rights, Zed has not only abandoned Canberrans but he’s gone against his own colleagues’ wishes and actively and knowingly undermined the ACT Opposition Leader.
Can I be absolutely clear, Madam Speaker, that no-one contradicted this statement. No-one contacted me. I did not hear from Senator McMahon and I did not hear from Senator Seselja. If Senator Seselja is so up in arms about this, why did he or Senator McMahon not contact me then?
Mr Parton interjecting—
MS CHEYNE: I am pretty sure you have been there, Mr Parton. Senator Seselja himself penned an opinion piece in the Canberra Times on 21 July in which he not only did not defend the reporting—his own comments, penned by himself presumably—but actually reinforced it. This included the following:
How much do I trust 13—
he did say “13”—
members of the ACT’s Labor-Greens government to legislate without constraint on assisted suicide? Not at all.