Returning MPs for the federal electorates of Canberra, Alicia Payne, and Solomon, Luke Gosling, will stand up for Territory rights in the 47th federal parliament. Ms Payne has confirmed that the new Labor government will allow the parliament to debate restoring territory rights in the upcoming first sitting fortnight.
The Australian Constitution allows the federal parliament to legislate to prevent territories from making particular laws. In 1996, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews introduced a bill to prevent the territories legislating on voluntary assisted dying (VAD), in response to the NT passing a law to allow it. This has become known as the “Andrews’ Legislation” and to this day prevents the territories from debating the issue of VAD, although all of the states now have. The Northern Territory and ACT MPs plan to introduce a private member’s bill to repeal the Andrews’ Legislation and allow territories the right to debate VAD as other Australians have.
NSWCCL has long campaigned for uniform voluntary assisted dying laws across Australia. We know from recent surveys and polls that there is overwhelming community support for VAD. Worldwide, over 220 million people now have access to legal voluntary assisted dying including in a number of countries in Europe, Canada, New Zealand and 11 US jurisdictions.
Nobody should have to suffer unbearable pain and loss of control and dignity at the end of their lives - but that's exactly what happens in a number of jurisdictions across Australia. We need to change that.