Page 4785 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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this space because assisted dying is a right that has been denied to the parliament and citizens of the ACT.

As a government and here in the Assembly we are denied the right to consider legislation on behalf of our citizens. Surely it should be a matter of principle that, irrespective of the contention that often surrounds this particular issue, as elected representatives of the ACT community we should have the capability to debate legislation on this important and recognisably difficult issue. Sadly, this is not the case.

We are constrained because people who do not live here voted to impose their will on the citizens of the ACT and stripped our parliament of its right to decide the matter. At the time of the passage of the so-called Andrews bill back in 1996 both of the ACT’s elected members of the House of Representatives voted to oppose the legislation.

Indeed in the debate, the then member for Canberra, Annette Ellis, remarked:

I find it a little bit paternalistic or maternalistic, whichever way you tend to view it, that this House now believes it needs to somehow protect the ACT.

The then member for Fraser, Bob McMullan, also noted:

The bill itself takes important rights away from Australians in three categories, those who live in the Capital Territory, those who live in the Northern Territory and those who live on Norfolk Island.

And this is the nub of it. The Andrews bill stripped ACT citizens and their representatives of the fundamental right to address a question important to them. This is a right that must be restored.

This Assembly is now in its third decade of existence. We have, I believe, proven ourselves to be a mature legislature capable of tackling difficult and important issues affecting our territory. We have an obligation as members of this Assembly to assert the rights of this parliament and the people of the ACT to self-determination on many matters, including this important matter, which is why I will be supporting Ms Cheyne’s motion today.

Alongside this advocacy to restore the rights of this place, I would like to turn to the specific area that Ms Cheyne’s private member’s motion refers to and say that the ACT government will continue to support and invest in palliative care services for the ACT. We will not do this as an alternative to assisted dying but as a fundamental part of our healthcare system to support patients to spend quality time with family and friends and be cared for according to their individual needs. We have a strong and proud history of supporting palliative care. In 2015 we provided an additional $2.4 million to increase the support of home-based palliative care packages as well as invest in more staff and education.

I was also especially pleased that as part of that budget a new paediatric palliative care service, the first ever in Canberra, to specifically address the palliative needs of

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