The ACT's Labor-Greens controlled parliament would likely pass the "most extreme" voluntary euthanasia laws in the country if granted the power to legislate on the issue, Liberal senator Zed Seselja has warned.
Senator Seselja said the ACT Legislative Assembly, with its "unchecked power", couldn't be trusted to pass responsible legislation because of the Barr government's track record.
He pointed to the government's "mismanagement" of the health system, refusal to further crackdown on bikie gangs and consideration of "extreme laws" to "decriminalise violence-inducing drugs such as ice" to push his case that the ACT shouldn't be allowed to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
Labor and the Greens have fired back at the Liberal senator, accusing him again of failing to stand up for the interests of Canberrans.
"How much do I trust 13 members of the ACT's Labor-Greens government to legislate without constraint on assisted suicide? Not at all"Zed Seselja
Senator Seselja has come under renewed pressure over his euthanasia stance after revelations of his role in the ACT's exclusion from a new plan which would re-instate the NT's right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
NT Country Liberal senator Sam McMahon has said she removed the ACT from her draft bill after Senator Seselja signaled that he wouldn't support it.
The position sparked an immediate political backlash, with former Liberal chief ministers Kate Carnell and federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese among a chorus of voices criticising the conservative senator.
In an opinion piece published in The Canberra Times, Senator Seselja provided his most detailed defence of his controversial position.
He argued that with no upper house in the 25-seat Legislative Assembly, there were "few constraints" on the ACT government's power to pass legislation.
"How much do I trust 13 members of the ACT's Labor-Greens government to legislate without constraint on assisted suicide? Not at all," he wrote.
"Their record in mismanaging our health system, their virtual invitation of bikie gangs into our city, and now their consideration of extreme laws which would decriminalise violence-inducing drugs such as ice, give me no confidence at all.
"What is inevitable is the fact that a repeal of the Andrews Bill would result in assisted suicide being legalised in the ACT.
"What is likely (based on the record of this Labor-Greens government) is that we would have the most extreme assisted-suicide legislation in the country, and could see the kind of results unfolding in parts of Europe and North America, where assisted suicide goes well beyond late-stage terminal illness."
Senator Seselja said the ACT government should be focused on fixing the public health system, or supporting palliative care.
ACT human rights minister Tara Cheyne accused Senator Seselja of "scaremongering" with his comments about the "extreme" legislation the Barr government might produce, saying it had made clear that the community would be consulted on any potential voluntary euthanasia legislation.
"As a former leader of the Canberra Liberals who sought to be chief minister, it is disgraceful that he is using his position to criticise and interfere in matters being considered by the ACT Legislative Assembly - let alone to use an opinion piece to undermine the democratically-elected parliament he was once part of," she said.
Greens leader and attorney-general Shane Rattenbury questioned why Senator Seselja had "such little faith" in the ACT democracy.
"The capable and democratically elected government of the ACT should be able to implement the views of the people they represent on this issue, just as any state government can," he said.
"Zed isn't standing up for Canberrans, he's standing in the way. He's holding on to a crucial Senate vote and he's using it to curb democracy in the ACT.
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