Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5401 ..
The opposition is in part in agreement with the Chief Minister that this is a very important issue. However, regardless of what we think about euthanasia either collectively or personally, it is a commonwealth issue. What this motion is really about is federal law. Whilst I acknowledge that there is mention of palliative care in the motion, what Mr Barr has just spoken to and what will be the primary focus of this committee, if not the exclusive focus of this committee, is commonwealth law. For us to spend two years discussing commonwealth law is, I think, a bit excessive.
To have a select committee go for two years on this issue is, I think, inappropriate. If the issue is so important, why are we delaying the report for 24 months? If the issue is so important we should be expediting this. We should be doing this in three months or six months if it is so important. But for some reason there is a view that we should wait 24 months to report on this pressing issue.
Secondly, given the Victorian experience, I think there would be real merit in waiting to see how the Victorian legislation rolls out in practice. And thirdly, of course, it is not our jurisdiction.
Who is going to chair this select committee, I am not sure. It seems to me to be a potential make-work scheme for Ms Cody. We will see if that eventuates.
Today I have circulated two amendments. The first is to exclude the reference to who should chair the committee. We should let the committee make that choice. The second is to bring forward the reporting date to 2018. There may be some disagreement, from the crossbench perhaps, on one of those amendments or perhaps both; I am not sure. We would certainly entertain voting on those amendments separately if that were palatable to the Assembly.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.24): I will look at the more substantive parts of the issues. As both previous speakers have said, clearly these are important matters that deserve our attention. Of course, as an Assembly we have been giving them attention. In the last sitting period the Assembly passed a motion proposed by Ms Cheyne about euthanasia. It called on the ACT government, and each member of the Legislative Assembly, to:
raise with Federal political colleagues and counterparts, as appropriate, the increasingly paternalistic and unreasonable curtailment of ACT Legislative Assembly legislative powers, and how poorly this reflects on the Commonwealth Parliament’s understanding of the ACT’s capacity to govern itself;
convey to the Commonwealth Government and Opposition, at every available and appropriate forum, the need to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 and restore to the Territories the right to make laws in respect of voluntary euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying; and
consider as soon as practicable, upon the passage of a scheme in any Australian State to allow voluntary assisted dying, whether and how the ACT community can have input on a possible model for such a scheme in the ACT.