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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2685 ..

As my colleague Ms Cheyne has said, as well as Ms Le Couteur and Ms Orr, in the week beginning on 14 August Senator Leyonhjelm is introducing a bill that seeks to remove what is commonly referred to as the Andrews bill, restoring territory rights for the citizens of the ACT and the Northern Territory. I implore all Canberrans and all community members in Australia—everyone—to write to their politicians and make it very clear that the territories deserve to have the same rights as the states.

Whilst I am talking about the people of Canberra, and what a fantastic community we have, I would also like to note my disdain for the comments made by Mr Steve Price last night on The Project. Canberra bashing is not okay. Canberra bashing is appalling. Mr Steve Price was in a debate about the plastic bag ban and was supporting the Coles backflip nationally to stop the plastic bag ban which we have had in the ACT for many years, and which has been very successful. As Ms Orr said, reusing plastic is a very good idea. Mr Price said, “That’s Canberra, Dee. Please don’t quote Canberra at us. We’re talking about real cities like Melbourne and Sydney where there’s people.”

Well, Mr Price, there are a damn lot of people in Canberra, 400,000 people, and I am pretty sure they are not very happy with you.

Federal government—territory rights

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (5.32): I am a proud Canberran. I am proud of our local democracy. I am proud of the history contained within the Legislative Assembly. I am proud of the way members in this place conduct themselves; well, most of the time.

It is because of this, my pride in our ability to determine our own way of life, that I urge those in the federal parliament to overturn the Andrews bill. This debate, this piece of legislation, is first and foremost about the rights that we afford to territories. I do not think anyone sincerely holds a belief that people living in the ACT or the Northern Territory are less cognisant of political discourse or the magnitude of their decision-making. But our laws do.

Our laws have created a two-tiered system in which Australian citizens are less empowered to make decisions based upon their postcode. It is demeaning and it is unfair. The Andrews bill is an outdated piece of legislation.

The whole situation is quite laughable, when you think about it. The Northern Territory legalises euthanasia; the commonwealth government revokes the power of the territories to legislate on euthanasia. Victoria legalises euthanasia; the territories are still unable to legislate on euthanasia. It appears that the only way out of this mess is to have a Senate crossbench deal to sell out working people and their unions by voting for the ABCC. Let us not conflate these issues. Let us stop playing games. Let us stop horse trading. Let us just talk about the issue at hand.

The federal parliament will, in a few weeks, consider the Andrews bill again. I urge all federal members of parliament to restore the rights of the Australian Capital Territory. The Andrews bill needs to be overturned.

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