15 July 2021

Probing the polls: seaplanes and Seselja's political responsibilities

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Zed Seselja with a seaplane

Senator Zed Seselja at the seaplane trial launch last year. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Readers are evenly divided on whether we should allow seaplanes to land on Lake Burley Griffin, according to last week’s poll.

Sydney Seaplanes, which operated a test flight last December, is proposing four daily services between Rose Bay and Canberra, two of which would land on and take off from the lake, tying up at the dock near the National Museum of Australia.

Opponents like the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians say that such a service would set a precedent that would undermine the original intention of the lake.

We asked Should we allow seaplanes to land on Lake Burley Griffin? A total of 833 people responded and votes were almost evenly divided on the topic.

Your choices were to vote No, let’s keep the Lake peaceful and quiet. These options attracted 49 per cent of the total, or 408 votes. Alternatively, you could choose Yes, it’s a fun idea that will enliven the Lake. This attracted 51 per cent of the total, or 425 votes.

This week, we’re wondering what you think about Zed Seselja’s decision to prevent the ACT from being included in a bill that would restore territory rights to vote on matters including voluntary assisted dying.

When outgoing Coalition Senator for the Northern Territory Sam McMahon announced her intention to introduce a private member’s bill that would reinstate territory rights to legislate on the issue, she originally tried to include the ACT, but Senator Seselja indicated “he wasn’t keen to do that”.

The Howard Government stripped both the ACT and Northern Territory of the right under the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997.

READ ALSO Seselja ‘not keen’ on restoring the Territory’s right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying

The position puts him at odds with the majority of the ACT’s local politicians: ACT Labor and Greens politicians, and Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee on behalf of the Canberra Liberals, all signed a letter to all Australian MPs and Senators alerting them to the Legislative Assembly’s unanimous motion calling for the Assembly’s ability to legislate on voluntary assisted dying to be restored.

But is it Senator Seselja’s responsibility to enact the wishes of the voters, or have they elected him on their behalf to make the best judgments he sees fit?

Oiled Pengu said: “He was voted in and has his own viewpoint. Why be upset? That is how democracy works. And no I did not vote for him but I respect the process.”

DB4 said: “In regards to euthanasia laws, our politicians must put their personal opinions aside and do what the people they represent want. Watching your parents die slowly and painfully is WRONG! Give us the choice over how we end our own lives.”

Janise Farrell wrote: “He doesn’t represent the ACT as a whole and it is highly likely that he doesn’t even represent the majority of Christians in the ACT on the issue of voluntary assisted dying. Survey after survey has shown high levels of support among Christians.”

Our question this week is:

Should Zed Seselja vote according to his own judgement or the will of the ACT voters?

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limestonecowboy12:14 am 16 Jul 21

As a Catholic Seselja would struggle with a “morally responsible” decision

Zed can and should make decisions based on his own judgment and not on whatever is popular at the time.

And he can and should be voted out as soon as possible because his views are so at odds with those of Canberrans.

We need to find a way so that the system doesn’t automatically just give him the majority of the Liberal vote just because he is supported by a majority of Canberra Liberal party members.

Andrew Caird4:00 pm 15 Jul 21

Zed is just another bible-bashing Liberal, a good Catholic in this case, and forces his religious views onto all Canberrans. Politics should be separate from religion, but clearly, he does not have the capacity to think with his own mind.

Hi Zed, I support your right to have your own opinions, BUT, you are representing the ACT as a Senator. If you will not support the overwhelming views of your constituents, your proper action is to resign as a Senator representing us. That would be the morally responsible thing to do.

Jenny Graves2:38 pm 15 Jul 21

I quite agree with you! We have the right in the ACT to make decisions for ourselves, just as the States do. If Zed doesn’t like the idea of voluntary euthanasia, then nobody is going to force him to take that route should he get a terminal illness. But let others make that decision for themselves.

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