NT senator Sam McMahon says federal Labor's claims that Zed Seselja blocked her from including the ACT in her new voluntary euthanasia bill are "false, baseless, and incorrect".
Senator McMahon has also challenged Labor's Katy Gallagher to back up her public rhetoric by either presenting presenting her own bill, co-sponsoring hers or pushing for amendments that would - if passed - also allow the ACT to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
But Senator Gallagher has now officially ruled that out, insisting that the "only way" to reinstate the territories' right to make their own laws would be through a repeal of the so-called Andrews Bill.
The Canberra Times has seen a letter from Senator McMahon to Senator Gallagher, which accuses the Labor frontbencher of peddling a false narrative about the ACT's exclusion from her draft bill.
The Barr government and federal Labor seized on reports from earlier this month that Senator McMahon had carved the ACT out of her legislation because Senator Seselja flagged that he wouldn't support it.
Senator Gallagher has launched an online petition which accuses Senator Seselja of "deliberately blocking" his NT colleagues from including the ACT in her proposal, while Labor leader Anthony Albanese used similar language in an address to the local Labor convention last weekend.
MORE ACT EUTHANASIA DEBATE
In her letter to Senator Gallagher, Senator McMahon said Labor's assertions were "false, baseless, and incorrect".
"I can categorically confirm that I made the decision of my own accord as a senator for the NT to prepare legislation affecting the people of the NT to only include the NT," she wrote in the letter.
"I considered it would not be appropriate for me as an NT representative to prepare Private Senators' legislation affecting the citizens of any other jurisdiction. I can further confirm to you that at no stage in my conversations with Senator Seselja did he instruct me on how I should draft my legislation."
Senator Seselja told The Canberra Times that the Labor frontbencher had been caught out starting a petition based on a "blatant lie".
He said Senator Gallagher should pull down the petition and apologise to Canberrans who he claims have been "wilfully and shamelessly misled".
Asked to respond to Senator Seselja's comment, Senator Gallagher said she was "very comfortable with the petition and what had been said publicly [on the issue]".
Senator Gallagher has also confirmed that she would not co-sponsor or attempt to amend Senator McMahon's bill after she was provided a copy of it earlier this week.
She said the bill was NT-specific, with proposed changes to employment law and land acquisition bundled in with a section re-instating the territory's right to make euthanasia laws.
"Any suggestion that you could amend it and go 'oh and by the way, [include] the ACT in this sub-section' is ridiculous," she told The Canberra Times.
"That is not how you deal with these things."
Senator Gallagher warned of potential problems in attempting to debate legislation where part of it - the euthanasia component - might require a conscience vote.
"Now that I've read the bill, I'm even more convinced that the only way to deal with this is to have a straightforward repeal bill that deals with the ACT and the NT as one, in a standalone bill, not dumped in as an amendment to a bill that is trying to do a whole range of other things," she said.
Senator McMahon declined to provide The Canberra Times with a copy of her bill, saying it had not yet been circulated to her party room colleagues.
Under escalating pressure from his Labor opponents, Senator Seselja this week launched a strident defence of his opposition to the ACT's right to legislate on voluntary assisted, which doubled as a attack on the Barr government.
Senator Seselja claimed the Labor-Greens government would pass the most "extreme" euthanasia laws in the country if given the opportunity, pointing to its record on health, tackling bikie gangs and drug decriminalisation as evidence of why it couldn't be trusted.
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