Leyonhjelm’s Deadly Deal

June 27, 2018

The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory may soon wrestle back control of their euthanasia laws more than two decades after the NT's landmark legalisation of the practice was voided by the Commonwealth – a move supported by the Conservative Party.

The ABC reports, a motion put forward by Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, which could see the territory governments rather than the federal government legislate on the issue in their jurisdictions, passed today.

In 1995, the Northern Territory famously became the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise euthanasia.

But that was effectively voided two years later when the federal government passed a bill that banned the ACT and NT from legalising assisted suicide.

It remains in place, despite Victoria passing its voluntary euthanasia law in October last year, and the NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to "alter" his Government's position on the issue.

The passing of Mr Leyonhjelm's motion today will now see his Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) bill debated in the Senate in August, followed by a free vote.

If successful, it is likely to then progress to the House of Representatives for another debate and vote.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News Senator Leyonhjelm has obviously done a deal with the Prime Minister which effectively undermines the constitutional links between the Territory and the Commonwealth government.

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