With remonstrance, ACT Parliament condemns Senate Andrews Bill repeal decision

Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT Greens today proudly stood with the majority of ACT parliamentarians to remonstrate the decision of 36 federal Senators to oppose the rights of Territories to make their own decisions.

“It is ridiculous that the Andrews Bill refuses Canberrans the right to debate and legislate when it comes to voluntary assisted dying—an issue that we know matters enormously to our Canberra community,” Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“Last night’s vote had been the most promising opportunity in decades to right this historical wrong.

“What’s clear is that the Greens, both locally and nationally, strongly back the democratic rights of Territorians to make decisions for ourselves. We are proud that each of Senate’s nine Green Senators each voted to back the repeal.

“Canberra Senator Zed Seselja should reflect on his role in this debate. Senator Seselja refused to allow our community, the community that he represents, to decide for ourselves - instead, he felt his own views more important than those of the Canberra community. He also could have urged his colleagues to simply allow Canberrans to have their own say.  Senator Seselja was elected twice as a Member of the Legislative Assembly so it is particularly surprising that he does not have faith in the ability of the Legislative Assembly to make laws for the good of the people of the ACT.

“In the Northern Territory, elected members from all sides expressed their support for Territories to legislate, but unfortunately this was not so in our Territory.” 

First ever remonstrance

 The ACT Assembly voted today to formally express their grievances to the Senate, through a rarely used ‘remonstrance’–a process of setting out a grievance to a higher authority.

Today’s vote marks the first successful remonstrance in the ACT Legislative Assembly. It “respectfully request(s) that Senators reflect on their vote… deny(ing) citizens of the Australian Capital Territory their democratic rights.”

“The emotion expressed in the Assembly today only further demonstrates how important this issue is to members of our Assembly, and to our community,” Greens MLA for Kurrajong Shane Rattenbury said.

“The people of the ACT are tired of being treated as second class citizens. While bowed, we remain undeterred. The fight to restore equal Territory rights will continue,” Ms Le Couteur added.

In November, Victoria’s Parliament passed historic legislation with respect to voluntary assisted dying. A related bill on Territory Rights on this issue is expected to be brought to Federal Parliament next week.