Two Labor backbenchers, including the Member for Canberra Alicia Payne, will introduce private member’s legislation to Federal Parliament that would repeal the Andrews bill and clear the path for the territories to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
The bill could be introduced in late July or early August.
Ms Payne said she expected the bill to be introduced “as soon as possible” after the resumption of Federal Parliament.
“All Australians should have equal democratic rights, whether they live in Canberra or Queanbeyan,” Ms Payne said.
“The reality is the Andrews bill makes residents of the ACT and NT second-class citizens, and I’m proud the Albanese Labor government will enable the parliament to vote on restoring territory rights.”
Ms Payne will introduce the bill alongside her Darwin-based colleague, Member for Solomon Luke Gosling.
“Territorians should be able to decide for ourselves whether this is something we want, as Australians living in the states can do,” Mr Gosling said in a Facebook post.
Minister for Territories Kristy McBain confirmed last week she would not introduce the bill herself, but she would work alongside the member or senator who did so.
Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh had previously indicated he would like to introduce a similar bill. ACT Senator Katy Gallagher also supports the territories legislating on voluntary assisted dying.
During his campaign, now Senator David Pocock promised to move a private senator’s bill to restore the ACT’s right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying in his first weeks in the Senate.
A spokesperson for Mr Pocock confirmed last week he would be willing to work constructively on the bill with other members alongside Ms McBain and had already had conversations on the subject.
The ACT Government is also commissioning draft voluntary assisted dying legislation ahead of an expected repeal of the Andrews bill.
Mr Barr told the ACT Legislative Assembly at the start of June that a consultation document alongside a draft bill would be prepared.
He described the former government’s treatment of Canberra as akin to “disdain”.
The so-called Andrews bill was enacted in the early 1990s to stop the territories from legalising euthanasia.
All Australian states have now passed voluntary assisted dying laws, with NSW the most recent to do so in May.