NEWS AND UPDATES

ACT Assembly calls on Feds to reinstate Territory Euthanasia rights

Following successful action from the ACT Greens, the Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly will write to the Federal Government calling on it to repeal the “Andrews Act”, which prevents the ACT from legislating to establish a euthanasia scheme.  The Assembly passed the Greens’ resolution with the support of the Labor party. The Liberal Party opposed it.

 “The Assembly has made a clear statement to the Federal Parliament that it is time that to repeal this out-of-date restriction - which was imposed for purely political purposes - and give the people of Canberra the same rights as other Australians,” said ACT Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury.

“I’d encourage all ACT residents to make their views known to the Federal Government as well. People in the ACT are the same as anyone else in Australia, they face the same choices at the end of their life, they suffer the same as anyone else, yet they don’t have a right for their own Parliament to consider the euthanasia issue.

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Early community consultation to improve development process

ACT Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury, today introduced legislation to increase the level of community involvement and improve early planning processes for developments in the ACT.   

 “This legislation would require a proponent to undertake pre-development application consultation with the community in order for a Minister to utilise call-in powers,” said Mr Rattenbury.

 “The ACT Greens have long opposed the use of call-in powers, however, have been unable to gain support for their removal in the Assembly. This legislation instead goes some way towards improving processes around their use.

 “This creates an incentive for proponents, particularly those of potentially controversial developments, to undertake consultation with the community and work through any potential issues in the early stages of the process.

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Greens motion on the Territory's right to legislate on euthanasia

Shane Rattenbury's speech on the ACT's right to legislate on euthanasia 

Madam Speaker, the people of the ACT, just like people in broader Australia, believe strongly that they should have the right to make choices over their own life and death.

 They believe that at the end of their life, at a time that is deeply personal and meaningful and often involves pain and suffering, they should have the right to die with dignity, how and when they choose.  To many people there are few choices more important.

 It’s well known that the Greens support the right of people to make decisions at the end of their life and we support the creation of a compassionate, safe and workable scheme for voluntary euthanasia.  In fact the majority of Australians agree and also support such a scheme.  Who wants to suffer at the end of their life, deprived of your dignity and most personal of choices?

 But this motion is not about establishing a euthanasia scheme in the ACT.

 If the ACT were to go down the path of allowing euthanasia it would of course involve extensive community consultation, input of experts and no doubt vigorous debate in the Assembly. It would involve all of the parliamentary and community engagement mechanisms that are appropriate for such an important change, and governed overall of course by the right of ACT citizens to vote its government in or out.

 But, critically, the ACT does not have the right to do this. This Assembly does not have the right to legalise euthanasia, even if it did follow all of the regular democratic and consultative processes.  Unlike the States of Australia, this democratically elected ACT parliament cannot make decisions on euthanasia for the benefit of the citizens who have elected us.

 So this motion is about re-establishing the right of the ACT Assembly to legislate on euthanasia if that is what it wanted to do as a democratically elected and competent parliament. It is about recognising that the people in the ACT should have the same rights as anyone else.  It asks this Assembly to agree that ACT residents shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens.

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Joint Communique on the Progress of the Parliamentary Agreement of the 8th Assembly

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury today met to review progress on the Parliamentary Agreement for the 8th Assembly.

The Parliamentary Agreement is a shared agenda to be implemented over the four year term of the government covering all portfolio areas. The Agreement was made in 2012 to formalise the relationship between the ACT Greens and the ACT Labor Party to form Government until the next election in October 2016, when the Agreement expires. The parties remain committed to achieving Agreement items and recommit to citing the Agreement when initiatives are delivered.

The review of progress has shown substantial progress across all areas of the Agreement including draft legislation, funded initiatives and policy development.  The majority of items in the Agreement are either completed, or on track and on time, and a substantial number of items received funding in the 2014-15 Budget.

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Shane's News from the Assembly (Aug 14)

The campaign to allow medicinal cannabis is growing, following from my tabling of a Greens discussion paper and draft legislation last week.  You can read my speech here or email my office to let me know your views.

The ACT will be the only jurisdiction to defy the Abbott Government’s attempt to remove the role of the Commonwealth from environmental protection, with a Bill tabled yesterday which delivers on the Parliamentary Agreement item to maintain an ongoing approvals role for the Federal Government in environment protection matters.

 Disappointingly in the Assembly this fortnight, the old parties passed a Bill making it harder for independents and small parties to get elected.

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Federal Gov dumps proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act

This is a win for communities across Australia who have demonstrated their abhorrence with George Brandis’ proposal to water down the Racial Discrimination Act,” said ACT Greens Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury.

 “The overwhelming response from the community was a powerful rejection of what was a divisive proposal.

 “This is a clear message that Australia does not want to be a country where people have the right to be bigots. 

 Statement ends

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5 x 5 = electoral stitch-up

The 5 members in 5 electorates (5X5) model that was passed in the Legislative Assembly today is a poor outcome for democracy, and a wasted opportunity to enhance our electoral system, said ACT Greens Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury.

 “While the ACT Greens support an increase in the size of the Legislative Assembly, the 5x5 model benefits only the ALP and the Canberra Liberals while delivering a less democratic Assembly for the people of the ACT,” said Mr Rattenbury.

 “Five member electorates will raise the quota to get elected, and will make it harder for independents and small parties to get elected, which will mean less diversity and community representation.

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ACT delivers role for Federal Government on national environment decisions

ACT Greens Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury, today confirmed that the ACT Government will deliver on the Parliamentary Agreement item to maintain an ongoing approvals role for the Federal Government in environment protection matters. 

“It is extremely important that the Federal Government maintains a role in approving proposals within the ACT that may affect matters of national environmental significance,” said Mr Rattenbury.

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