Push for euthanasia debate in federal parliament
The ban on the ACT and Northern Territory being able to legalise assisted suicide could be lifted after a looming Senate showdown on euthanasia.
Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm is pushing for his private bill repealing the 1997 ban on territories controlling euthanasia laws to be debated when parliament resumes after the winter break in August.
He said he had a personal guarantee from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the Liberal Party would be allowed a free vote on the bill, which the government will allow to proceed to the lower house.
“As a Liberal Democrat I believe in the right of individuals to end their lives painlessly at a time of their choosing, as do the majority of Australians,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
Senator Leyonhjelm, with the support of a handful of Labor senators, the Greens and crossbenchers including One Nation, will move a motion on Wednesday to have the legislation scheduled for debate on August 14.
But the issue could spark a conservative backlash in the coalition, fresh from last year’s divisions over same-sex marriage.
Tasmanian conservative Eric Abetz said parliament permitting and promoting suicide in any circumstance diminished the value of human life.
“I trust news reports that the government traded the issue of state-promoted suicide in exchange for support of other legislation in Senate negotiations is incorrect,” Senator Abetz said.