Dying with Dignity in the ACT

The Greens are calling on the Federal Government to lift restrictions barring the ACT from determining its own legislation—restrictions that deny the rights and wishes of terminally ill Canberrans to end their lives on their own terms.

It's about our rights.

The ACT Greens believe voluntary assisted dying should be debated in our Assembly, where this complex and often emotional issue can be extensively canvassed by the Canberra community. Unfortunately, the Federal Government is standing in the way of the ACT’s capacity to debate and legislate in relation to this important issue.

The ACT is currently subject to the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, an imposed federal law. The Federal Government added a section to the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 to specifically prevent the ACT from making laws which would permit voluntary assisted dying.

It’s absurd that Canberrans should be prevented from determining our own laws, despite being granted self-government almost thirty years ago.

The Greens believe that the people of the ACT, just like all Australians, should have the right to make choices about their own life and death. At the end of their life, our citizens should have the right to die with dignity, how and when they choose.

The Greens want to see governments across Australia take action to create a compassionate, safe and workable scheme for voluntary assisted dying.

Canberrans shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to debate and legislate on the issues that matter to them by Senators on the Hill, like Zed Seselja. We should be free to debate and legislate this issue in the Territory’s Parliament.

The ACT is being prevented by a Federal Government that is otherwise unwilling to act on an issue that is of great concern to many people in the community.

In August 2018, the ACT Greens MLAs proudly stood with a majority of ACT parliamentarians to remonstrate the decision of 36 federal Senators to oppose the rights of Territories to make their own decisions. ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja voted against the legislation that would have allowed Territorians to debate the issue of voluntary assisted dying in our Assembly. The legislation was defeated by two votes.

The most powerful way to vote the ACT Liberal out of the Senate is to vote Green. At this election, Canberrans who care about opening up the debate on voluntary assisted dying and restoring our territory rights must vote Green to elect an advocate on this issue - and kick Zed out.

The Greens will continue the fight to restore Territory rights and campaign to ‘Put Zed last’ in the upcoming federal election, as he has put the interests of Canberrans last.


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