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Canberrans can’t afford to wait for equal rights

ACT Independent community-endorsed Senate candidate David Pocock has condemned the lack of support from both major parties’ leaders to prioritising Territory rights.

David said the passage of voluntary assisted dying legislation in the NSW parliament today underscores the unjustifiable disadvantage people living in the ACT and NT continue to face.

“It is completely unacceptable that people living in the ACT and NT are treated as lesser citizens than people living in the states,” David said.

“It is hugely disappointing to hear the Prime Minister entrenching this disadvantage and effectively saying that Canberrans deserve to go on being treated as second class citizens. 

“The Prime Minister has a duty to all Australians, including the people of the ACT and NT.

“While the Opposition Leader has indicated support for greater Territory rights, his failure to see the urgency of this issue is hard to understand.

“Distressingly, there are Canberrans right now facing terminal diagnoses having to contemplate a move interstate away from friends and family, just so they can have the same end of life choices as other Australians. 

“Friends and family have, and continue to see, their loved ones suffer and have their wishes ignored.

“I encourage the PM and the Opposition Leader to sit down with these very brave people, as I have, and listen to their stories. 

“This is about respect, equality and dignity.

“There is absolutely no reason why Canberrans should not have the right to debate important issues like voluntary assisted dying for ourselves, the same way NSW has just done.

“The ACT and NT are the only places in Australia not to have the right to debate and decide voluntary assisted dying legislation for ourselves.

“If elected on Saturday, I have committed to introducing and seeking support for a private Senator’s bill to give us this right as one of my first acts.”

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