Page 5400 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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I can signal today that the ACT government will continue to work with the Northern Territory government in our efforts to repeal this absurd, demeaning and patronising law.

The establishment of this committee will ensure that all elements of this complex and sensitive issue are properly explored in a non-partisan way, in anticipation of the commonwealth ban inevitably being lifted. This select committee will examine voluntary assisted dying schemes in other jurisdictions as well as hearing the wide variety of views held by members of our community.

This motion today follows the private member’s motion on voluntary assisted dying brought by Ms Cheyne and passed by the Assembly in October. That motion flagged the need for the Assembly to provide the Canberra community with an opportunity to consider a possible model for such a scheme in the ACT upon the passage of a scheme in any Australian state to allow voluntary assisted dying.

The Victorian parliament, after, I think, more than 100 hours of debate, has legislated this week to establish such a scheme. It is my view and that of my colleagues that this Legislative Assembly and the Canberra community are just as capable as the parliament of Victoria and the people of Victoria to properly and seriously consider complex and fundamental issues such as voluntary assisted dying.

The New South Wales upper house, by a margin of only one vote, defeated a similar proposal in the not too distant past. So this issue will remain live in the national debate and in the debate at state and territory level.

I believe that a select committee provides the best way to test whether and, if so, how a scheme similar to the Victorian scheme could be established in the Australian Capital Territory once the commonwealth prohibition is lifted. It must be lifted, it will be lifted and it is something that we will campaign strongly on.

It may require a change of government at the federal level to see that ban lifted but it will happen. When it does, this Assembly will need to consider these issues. It is absolutely absurd that a state has now passed these laws but two territories are not able to consider such laws. That is absurd. It cannot be allowed to stand and it will not be allowed to stand. I say so because the ACT government and the Canberra community are not scared about having a debate that some, only some, want to stop us from having.

For these reasons I commend the establishment of this select committee to the Assembly and signal the beginning of a very important piece of work for the Australian Capital Territory. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (12.21), by leave: I move:

(1) Omit paragraph (2)(d).

(2) Omit paragraph (4), substitute:

“(4) the select committee is to report by the last sitting day in 2018;”.

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