The Australian and ACT Greens have welcomed the passing of the Federal Territory Rights bill that will remove restrictions on the ACT and Northern Territory from legislating on voluntary assisted dying.
Last minute amendments seeking to re-impose restrictions on the Territories were defeated in the Senate.
As stated by Greens Senator and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge:
“The Greens have long stood for the right of all jurisdictions to make laws on an equal footing and against the arbitrary power grab by the Commonwealth represented by the Andrews’ Bill.
“We are proud to be part of pushing to overturn this unfair law and restoring the rights of the territories to legislate for assisted dying if they wish to.
“If citizens of the States are allowed access to voluntary assisted dying schemes, citizens of the Territories must be allowed those same rights.
“The passage of this law ends over 2 decades of discrimination against the Territories and the people who live there. It’s a good moment.
As stated by ACT Attorney-General and ACT Greens Leader, Shane Rattenbury:
“Canberra is a compassionate and progressive jurisdiction, but for the last 26 years we have been treated as second-class citizens – unable to even start the conversation about this important issue because of an archaic and undemocratic bill.
“Voluntary assisted dying is an important issue that is deeply personal to many Canberrans. It is only fair to the people of Canberra that their democratically elected Members of the Legislative Assembly are able to debate and consider legislation on this matter.
“The ACT and Northern Territory are now the only jurisdictions who do not have legislation to support voluntary assisted dying.
“The Greens – both federally and locally – have championed this issue for many years. During her time in the Legislative Assembly between 1995-1998, Lucy Horodny advocated strongly for the passing of voluntary euthanasia legislation, which narrowly failed.
“In 2014 I provided a submission to a Federal Senate Committee Inquiry into a Federal Greens Dying with Dignity Bill, calling for the repeal of the ‘Andrews Bill’ in order to reignite the conversation in the Assembly. Since then, the ACT Greens have joined our Federal colleagues on a number of occasions seeking to change this outdated and undemocratic restriction.
“I am pleased that with the passing of this bill we can now genuinely start the conversation about legislative change.”