A Liberal backbencher who introduced laws to stop the territories legalising assisted dying more than 20 years ago stands by his legislation, in spite of a push to repeal his bill.
The Senate will debate next month whether to remove restrictions on the ACT and Northern Territory making laws on voluntary euthanasia.
Victorian MP Kevin Andrews brought forward a bill in 1996 to nullify the assisted dying scheme introduced by the Northern Territory's parliament.
That legislation, passed by the Commonwealth in 1997, also knocked on the head an attempt by the ACT's parliament to introduce a similar scheme.
But a bill to dismantle the restrictions will be given precedence in the Senate from August 14 to 16.
The Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill has languished on the notice paper since 2015, but will be debated as a priority after a procedural motion to bring it to the top of the agenda passed last month.
ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja voted to block debate on the bill occurring, while Labor Senator David Smith voted to allow the debate.
If passed, it would not automatically revive the Northern Territory's euthanasia scheme, but allow both territories' parliaments the right to legalise assisted dying if they chose.
Coalition MPs will have a free vote on repealing the Andrews Bill, a "liberty offset" negotiated by Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm in exchange for his support to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission, although party members could already vote with their conscience conscience on matters of life and death.
Mr Andrews declined to be interviewed by Fairfax Media, or to answer a series of questions on whether he was lobbying colleagues against repealing his legislation.
In a short statement, he confirmed he still backed his bill, and was still opposed to assisted dying.
“International experience shows that once doctor-assisted suicide is allowed, many vulnerable people are killed without their knowledge or consent. This is bad legislation to which I remain opposed,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews also refused to address criticism from ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay that his bill had created two classes of citizens in Australia, by giving the states and territories different rights on the same issue.
Meanwhile, ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has written to senators Seselja and Smith calling on them to support the abolition of the bill.
Mr Rattenbury told both senators the ACT had been self-governed for 30 years ago, and Canberrans deserved to have a debate on the issue.
"The issue of voluntary assisted dying is a sensitive one that will require a lot more discussion in our community, but the principle of the ACT being able to determine its own legislation should unquestionably be supported," Mr Rattenbury wrote.
In his letter to Senator Seselja, Mr Rattenbury used the example of former ACT Liberal senator Gary Humphries crossing the floor in 2006 to give the ACT the right to legalise same-sex marriage, despite his own views and the Liberals’ position on the issue.
"We ask that you do the same on the Andrews Bill to demonstrate your trust in the people of the ACT," Mr Rattenbury said.
"If you cannot commit to repealing these undemocratic restrictions, we ask that you explain to your fellow Canberrans why they should be subject to restrictions not imposed on their friends and relatives in Australia’s states."
Senator Seselja has declined multiple requests to say how he will vote and why when the bill comes up.
In a short statement, his spokeswoman said, "Senator Seselja will outline his position prior to the Leyonhjelm Bill coming to a vote."
Senator Smith said he did not believe the territories should be fettered from considering legislation that a state was able to consider and pass, and would help overturn the restrictions.
"Federalism works best when all jurisdictions are treated fairly and equally and the Assembly is capable of having mature and respectful discussion about voluntary euthanasia," Senator Smith said.
The ACT's parliament has already endorsed the repeal of Andrews Bill in a motion that passed unopposed last year.
An inquiry is also underway into the end-of-life choices available in Canberra.
But despite claims the ACT's "socialist" government would move fast to legalise euthanasia without Andrews Bill, Mr Ramsay has said government had not actively considered a scheme.