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Cross-party push for Territory rights on dying with dignity

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 29 Feb 2016

Australian Greens leader Dr Richard Di Natale has today reached across party lines to give notice of a co-sponsored bill that would overturn a 20 year old private member's bill by Kevin Andrews that banned the Northern Territory and ACT from legislating dying with dignity laws.

"This bill will help put dying with dignity legislation on the national agenda," said Dr Richard Di Natale.

"As a doctor, when someone gets a terminal diagnosis the feel very anxious about what their final days may bring - this legislation can give comfort at a time of great distress.

"Many Australians would take comfort in knowing that they have some control over the way in which they die. More than 70 per cent of Australians support dying with dignity.

"It's 20 years since the federal parliament overturned dying with dignity legislation in the Northern Territory and it's high time we reversed that injustice.

Shane Rattenbury, a Greens Minister in the ACT Government joined the cross-party press conference to voice his support for the bill.

"The people of the ACT should have the same rights as other Australian citizens. The current Commonwealth restriction discriminates against the Territories and treats the people of the ACT, NT and Norfolk Island as second-class citizens," said Shane Rattenbury.

"This is an important issue that is deeply personal to many Canberrans and as elected Members of the Assembly it is only fair to the people of Canberra that we are able to debate it on their behalf, and legislate as required.

"We are a compassionate and progressive jurisdiction and we should be allowed to progress the debate towards legislative change."

The Greens' lead Senate candidate in the ACT, Christina Hobbs, also acknowledged that she has spoken to many Canberrans and their loved ones who are suffering.

"These changes would give them the right to die with dignity - and give them control over their own lives," said Christina Hobbs.

"Under our current laws, we're powerless to offer any help to people in pain. This is about standing up for the ACT's right to make laws for its own people."

Media contacts:
Di Natale - Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600
Rattenbury - Alison Jaques 0481 035 764
Hobbs - Maiy Azize 0421 281 400

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