Lower house passes territory rights bill

The territory rights bill was passed 99 to 37 in the House of Representatives (ABC News/Nick Haggarty)

A 25-year-old law banning the Northern Territory and the ACT from legislating on controversial issues including euthanasia is one big step closer to being scrapped. Source: The Australian.

Proposed laws overturning the ban comfortably passed the House of Representatives yesterday, with 99 votes in favour and 39 against. But the fight is far from over as numbers in the Senate are much more unpredictable.

Labor MP Luke Gosling urged his Senate colleagues to not consider the territory rights bill a “proxy vote” on euthanasia.

“Things in the Senate will be tight so we call on our colleagues to vote to restore democratic equality to the residents of the NT and ACT — and not to treat this as a proxy vote on voluntary assisted dying,” he said following the lower house vote.

“That’s a matter for the Legislative Assemblies to determine should they choose to do so.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton voted for the bill after the major parties granted a conscience vote on the matter.

Five Labor MPs, including Employment Minister Tony Burke, voted no, as did former prime minister Scott Morrison.

Tasmanian senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrell have backed the push for territory rights. The Greens, whose numbers in the Senate jumped to 12 after the election, are also expected to support the bill.

It will also have the support of senator David Pocock, who campaigned heavily on the ACT having the right to legislate voluntary euthanasia.

Parliament was last asked to vote on territory rights in 2018. Several Labor senators voted no on the bill, including Patrick Dodson, Don Farrell, Deb O’Neill and Helen Polley.

FULL STORY

Territory rights one step closer after bill passes the lower house (By Courtney Gould, NCA Newswire via The Australian)

RELATED COVERAGE

Territories' right to legislate around voluntary assisted dying only a step away from being restored (ABC News)

Lower house supports territory rights (Canberra Times

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