Legislation on voluntary assisted dying would not be rushed through the ACT's parliament if territory rights are restored, with the ACT Attorney-General saying it would likely take at least 12 months.
ACT ministers have said the government has no draft legislation on the matter and would not seek to do this unless the Federal Parliament repeals the Andrews Bill, which prevents the territory from even considering voluntary assisted dying laws.
The territory's Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne said the government would not seek to have legislation on voluntary assisted dying "rammed through" the Legislative Assembly.
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the government would likely start to consult with the community shortly after any repeal of the Andrews Bill.
"There's no question that there would be those in the Assembly who would want to start this conversation," Mr Rattenbury said.
"I think there's a consistent view across this place that we need to start with a really strong conversation with the community and it would be great to actually have a consultative process that draws out those issues."
Mr Rattenbury said any bill that would go before the Assembly would likely be subject to a "good 12-month process". He said feedback would be sought through an exposure draft bill and the bill would go before a select committee.
ACT federal Senator Zed Seselja previously argued the Labor-Greens government would pass the "most extreme" euthanasia laws if given the opportunity to legislate on the matter.
Ms Cheyne rejected this assertion. She said the government would draw on findings from a 16-month inquiry into end-of-life choices, which occurred during the last ACT's last governing term.
"I think that would be a very good starting point as a community to draw from that, given all the work that went into that," she said.
The inquiry did not make any formal recommendations about euthanasia, but a majority of the committee agreed on certain safeguards that need to be in place.
These included that a person must be aged at least 18 years and they must be diagnosed with a terminal illness or serious condition that can't be relieved through palliative care.
The person must be assessed by at least one general practitioner to ensure they are sound of mind and they must be given adequate information about assisted dying and the impact of their decision.
Ms Cheyne also said the ACT government could look to legislation from other states where voluntary assisted dying has been legalised.
ACT opposition leader Elizabeth Lee said she was "open minded" to any bill on voluntary assisted dying but that the Canberra Liberals would ensure there was a thorough consultative process.
"It is only right that the members who have been elected by our community for our community should have the right to make decisions on behalf of and for our community," Ms Lee said.
"We'll look at the bill once it's tabled very, very carefully and I'll ensure that there is a very, very thorough community and stakeholder engagement process.
"But it's difficult to say at this stage because at the moment its hypothetical."
- 'I couldn't walk away from her': Why Mary-Anne stood by her mother
- Push to put euthanasia bill on Labor campaign agenda
- NT senator lashes Labor's 'false' Zed euthanasia attack
- ACT would pass 'most extreme' euthanasia laws if given chance: Zed Seselja
- 'Hypocrisy' for Albanese to blame me for blocking territory rights: Zed
A bill on voluntary assisted dying would likely pass the Legislative Assembly.
The three parties allow a conscience vote on the issue, however all 16 members of the Labor and Greens government have expressed support for voluntary assisted dying.
Some Canberra Liberal MLAs are against voluntary assisted dying, but the party room has taken the position that the ACT should have the right to legislate on the matter.
The territories have had no ability to make legislation on voluntary assisted dying since the so-called Andrews Bill passed in the Federal Parliament in 1997. This was in response to the Northern Territory legalising voluntary euthanasia in 1995.
Four states have since passed voluntary assisted dying laws, including Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia. Bills are being considered in Queensland and NSW.
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- This story is part of Our Right To Decide campaign. The Canberra Times is advocating for the ACT to have the right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying, like other states.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: