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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3270 ..


fact. If only the Canberra Liberals could put in the same amount of effort to fight for territory rights as they do in defending Senator Seselja! I ask them to reflect on what and who they really stand for.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (3.59): The Greens will not be supporting Mr Hanson’s motion today. It is really a debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And I think it is an attempt at distraction. I do not believe the resolution that Minister Cheyne and I introduced, and that all members of this Assembly passed unamended, misled the Assembly or the federal members to whom it was sent. In fact, it seems clear to me that the motion accurately reflects the situation, and that Senator Seselja and Mr Hanson are going to some lengths to try and disguise an unfortunate and perhaps inconvenient truth.

That unfortunate truth is that the ACT community strongly supports the ACT’s right to legislate on the issue of voluntary assisted dying. But Senator Seselja, who purports to represent the ACT, is standing in the way of that. Senator Seselja is a very obvious and real barrier in the way of this reform. It seems very clear that this is due to his personal opposition to the idea of voluntary assisted dying, and he cannot help but let this take precedence over the wishes of his own constituents. There is no doubt that ACT residents are angry and confused that when it comes to advancing the rights of the ACT it is their own senator who stands in their way. It is such an outlandish betrayal that you would expect it to be the twist in a movie. The people pull off the mask of the bad guy and—what a shock!—it is their own senator who has been thwarting them.

Today we have a question in this motion that Mr Seselja and Mr Hanson are insisting on, about the exact phrasing or wording in the resolution, regarding the role that Senator Seselja had in the ACT not being included in Senator McMahon’s bill about territory rights. I will just lay out some basic facts, because this seems to be what we need to do in response to this motion. Senator McMahon’s bill, if it had included the ACT, would have sought to return to the ACT Assembly the ability to legislate on the issue of voluntary assisted dying. Very clearly, Senator Seselja has, for a long time, been unsupportive of the ACT legislating on voluntary assisted dying. He has repeatedly rejected this idea. Recently, he even published an opinion piece setting out in detail why he thought this was a bad idea. Fair enough, that is his position. Senator Seselja is an ACT senator who opposes these rights for the ACT and is part of the current government, with influence and with a vote.

We also know, from the public record, that Senator Seselja discussed Senator McMahon’s bill with her. Following this discussion, Senator McMahon decided not to include the ACT in her bill. And here is what Senator McMahon said publicly about that in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 July. Let me reinforce that this is a direct quote:

“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.”


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