Former Liberal chief minister Kate Carnell has urged Zed Seselja to put his personal views aside and back the ACT's right to legislate on euthanasia.
Ms Carnell made the comments as NT Country Liberal Senator Sam McMahon insisted there was nothing stopping Labor's Katy Gallagher from pushing to include the ACT in her new bill to restore territory rights.
But Senator Gallagher declared she wouldn't make any decision on a bill she described as a "thought bubble" which had been drafted to deliberately exclude the ACT.
The long-running saga took another turn this week after it emerged the ACT was set to be carved out of a bill which would again allow the NT to make its own laws on voluntary assisted dying.
Senator McMahon told The Canberra Times that she chose to exclude the ACT after Senator Seselja's office indicated that he wouldn't support it.
Senator Seselja's opposition to euthanasia is well known and he has not supported previous attempts to overturn the ban, which was legislated under a bill spearheaded by Kevin Andrews in 1997.
The ACT senator's spokeswoman on Monday said his views had not changed.
His intervention sparked a backlash from ACT Labor figures, with the territory's Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne accusing Senator Seselja of abandoning Canberrans and "actively and knowingly" undermining Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee.
The Liberals in the Legislative Assembly support the ACT's right to legislate on euthanasia and Ms Lee has said she'll continue to lobby Senator Seselja and his federal colleagues on the issue.
In an interview with The Canberra Times, Ms Carnell said it was "simply unreasonable" that the ACT parliament was banned from making its own voluntary assisted dying laws.
She supported a simple repeal of the Andrews bill, rather than an option being pushed by Senator McMahon which also includes changes to workplace laws.
"It was always about Kevin Andrews' views on euthanasia, it didn't have anything to do with constitutional power," Ms Carnell said.
"It was a way of Kevin Andrews stopping the territories legislating on some things that he personally didn't agree with."
Asked if she had a message for Senator Seselja, Ms Carnell said: "Zed has to put his own personal views aside on this and act in the best interests of the people of the territory."
"The people of the territory have a right to choose on this and all other issues, just like every other voter in Australia does," she said.
Former ACT Liberal senator and chief minister Gary Humphries did not wish to comment on Senator Seselja's position, but was adamant that the Andrews bill needed to be repealed.
Mr Humphries, who like Ms Carnell was part of the Liberals' moderate wing, said the "intellectual foundation" for the ban had crumbled as more states introduced their own euthanasia laws.
SA last month joined Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia in passing assisted dying laws.
"The implicit argument behind the Andrews bill was a mature parliament would never be so reckless as to legislate to allow people to die, therefore these irresponsible legislatures must be brought back into line," Mr Humphries said.
"But, given that mature parliaments that are hundreds of years old are now making those decisions ... it is hard to see what intellectual basis there is for saying the territories can't do the same thing."
Senator McMahon said she had received emails from Canberrans asking her to include the ACT in her bill in the days after news broke of the territory's exclusion
She was open to speaking with Senator Gallagher before the private members bill was drafted, adding that there was nothing preventing the Labor frontbencher from moving an amendment to include the ACT if and when it came up for debate.
Senator Gallagher poured cold water on the suggestion when contacted by The Canberra Times.
"My first priority will be properly representing the interests of the ACT and I will not make a decision on a Bill that is so far just a thought-bubble and is not even drafted yet," she said.
"Canberrans expect that their democratic rights will be treated equally to those in the Northern Territory and not as an add-on amendment to a bill that is being drafted to deliberately exclude the ACT simply because Zed Seselja told his NT colleague that he wouldn't support it."
In a letter to Senator Seselja in April, Senator Gallagher said she understood her Liberal counterpart's personal opposition to euthanasia and the diversity of views across Canberra and the country.
"But surely as an ACT Senator you cannot stand by whilst your own constituents are given less rights than Australian citizens who happen to live across our borders," she wrote in the letter, seen by The Canberra Times.
Senator Gallagher followed up with another letter to Senator Seselja on May 3, in which she expressed her "genuine hope" that the two could work together to "end the discrimination that exists on our statute books for our constituents in the ACT".
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