SHANE Rattenbury has launched a petition calling on the Federal Government to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, which prevents the ACT from legislating for euthanasia.
“The people of the ACT should have the same rights as other Australian citizens. The Commonwealth restriction discriminates against the Territories and treats the people of the ACT as second-class citizens,” Shane said.
“This isn’t just about euthanasia; this is about restricting the ACT’s right to govern for our own community. Today I am asking the people of the ACT to take a stand with me and demand that the Commonwealth gives us back our Territory rights.
“The ACT Greens do believe that at the end of their life, at a time that is deeply personal and meaningful, and often involves pain and suffering, the people of the ACT should have the right to die with dignity, how and when they choose.
“But right now the ACT is subject to an undemocratic and discriminatory restriction that prevents us creating our own laws on this matter in the Legislative Assembly.
“In 1997, the so-called ‘Andrews Bill’ was brought through the Commonwealth Parliament to stop the territories from making laws on euthanasia. It’s time the Commonwealth repealed this law, and allowed the ACT and other territories the freedom to decide for themselves on the sensitive issue of voluntary euthanasia.
“This petition calls on the Federal Government to re-establish the right of the ACT Assembly to legislate on euthanasia.
“Moving forward on the issue of voluntary euthanasia in the ACT would of course involve extensive community consultation, input from experts and no doubt vigorous debate in the Assembly – all of the parliamentary and community engagement mechanisms that are appropriate for such an important change.
“But at the moment we are not even permitted to undertake this process and that needs to change,” said Mr Rattenbury.
The petition is available on the Greens’ website.