Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3068 ..
our community and the views of our party. But we manage that juggle every day. However, on some days we manage some of the most fundamental discussions we can have as a community. We are asked by our community, as their representatives, to live up to their expectations and tackle and be thoughtful about some of the most significant issues facing us.
There are many in our community who deeply want to have this conversation. That has been reflected in the submissions to the end of life inquiry. I absolutely respect that. As someone who has also lived with faith throughout my life—and I acknowledge Minister Ramsay’s view—I acknowledge that there will be people who view themselves as people of faith who will hold different views and who will find themselves really thinking through what it might mean for a parliament to legislate on this.
If we have the opportunity to have that debate here, I trust that everyone in this place—this is demonstrated today—will bring their best selves to that debate. I am deeply disappointed that we do not have the opportunity, but I think that the momentum is behind those who voted for and supported this bill in the Senate last night. As Ms Cheyne said, we will not give up. Next time I deeply hope that we do have success.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (12.14): I will keep my remarks extremely brief because, as many can hear, my voice is not as strong as it could be. I could not in good conscience not rise today to add to this debate. It really is about the rights of people living in the ACT, who have the right to elect members of parliament—members of their parliament, this ACT Legislative Assembly—to make laws, to introduce bills, to make this city a progressive, wonderful, vibrant city and to continue to do the things that make Canberra the place we all want to live in. The motion that was moved in the Senate last night, and unfortunately defeated, was just providing the ACT’s elected representatives the right to debate a raft of issues, additional issues that we should be debating, that we should be having conversations about.
As the chair of the select committee looking into end of life choices, we have had many members of the community come and speak to us in public hearings. They have provided us with their stories. I encourage anyone that has not had a chance to read the Hansard or to listen to some of those people. Some of those people have implored us as parliamentarians to have the debate, to have a discussion about their rights as citizens of the ACT. I am really only going to say a couple more things, one of which is this: often in debates in this place we reflect on previous chief ministers. I, too, would like to take a moment to reflect on a previous chief minister.
I note that in 1996, under a Liberal Chief Minister, Kate Carnell, we united as one in a debate on this exact matter. The chamber, together, stood up for the rights of Canberrans. I thank Mr Coe today—I am sure he will be baffled by my thanking him; it does not happen very often—for allowing his members a conscience vote on this motion. I am a little disappointed that it has been conflated, that this is about assisted dying. This is about the rights of Canberrans and Canberra’s elected representatives to have a debate about Canberra’s rights.