A Morrison government backbencher has thrown his support behind a fresh push to repeal laws banning the territories from making laws on euthanasia, saying Canberrans should be able to determine "their own lives and their own destinies".
Liberal MP Tim Wilson made the comments in a speech in support of a motion in Federal Parliament from Labor's Andrew Leigh, which called on the government to restore the ACT and the NT's rights to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
Mr Wilson's position was based on his opposition to a "monopoly" of power in federal parliament.
The former Human Rights Commissioner linked the restoration of territory rights to a broader fight to arrest a "drift" in power away from communities and states and into the hands of the Commonwealth.
"We need to take it back every step of the way and fight for it every step of the way, because, in practice, that's what this resolution is about," he said.
"A territory is not a state, but the people who live in the ACT are sovereign and able to determine their own lives and their own destinies.
"While the Commonwealth may, under the constitution, have the power to override it, this should not be in a framework of competition of laws which gives citizens choice about where they live."
Mr Wilson, who represents the Melbourne-based electorate of Goldstein, reiterated that he supported euthanasia provided the appropriate safeguards were in place.
But he argued it should be the job of the states and territories, not the federal parliament, to determine what those safeguards should be.
"It is a decision for the Australian Capital Territory, whether or not I agree with their legislation," he said.
"If their legislation is wrong, it is their decision to fix it, not our job to override it. I make no bones about that."
Mr Wilson did not wish to comment further when contacted about his speech by The Canberra Times.
His support for a repeal of the so-called Andrews Bill was not shared by his Liberal colleague Julian Lesser, who was among the five MPs to speak on Dr Leigh's motion earlier this week.
Mr Leeser argued that no parliament in Australia should be able to make laws on voluntary assisted dying, describing those already in place as "bad and as an attack on some fundamental values that underpin our society as a whole".
Labor Bean MP David Smith said in his speech that he personally opposed the legislation of euthanasia.
But Mr Smith argued that as the Commonwealth had recognised self-government in the ACT and NT, it shouldn't "pick and choose" what cases those jurisdictions should be blocked from making their own laws.
"Some of us may be unhappy with the decisions made by the people of the territory, but, if we support the principle of self-determination, we accept their decisions and do not seek to substitute our own any more than we would where the same decision is made by the parliament of a state," he said.
Canberra MP Alicia Payne said the debate was about more than euthanasia - it was about democracy.
"This is about us having parliaments that can represent us in the ACT and the Northern Territory in the same way as parliaments do in New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia," she said.
"As I said, the ACT government is leading the way on many issues, and I would like to see us have the right to lead in other ways as well."
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