Andrew Denton has slammed the arrogance of federal politicians for refusing to allow the territories to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
The former television presenter, who is a fierce campaigner for legalising voluntary assisted dying, said laws that prevented the ACT and Northern Territory from making laws on the issue were unjust.
"When I tell people that in the Northern Territory and the ACT that the parliaments don't have the right to talk about this, they're amazed," he said.
"They had no idea that in Australia those kinds of restrictions could exist."
Mr Denton was particularly critical of politicians who allowed their personal views to get in the way, saying it showed "great arrogance".
"They are extending their personal views to stop debate," he said.
"It's not necessarily to stop a law, it's up to those legislators to decide if there should be a law and decide what kind of a law and to decide what safeguards."
Mr Denton has been a household name in Australia since the early-1990s, appearing and producing a string of television shows, including the widely popular Enough Rope, which aired from 2003 to 2008.
But in recent years, Mr Denton has turned his attention to campaigning for the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying.
Five years ago, Mr Denton founded health promotion charity Go Gentle Australia, which advocates for voluntary assisted dying to be legalised across Australia.
His podcast, Better Off Dead, examined voluntary assisted dying from all angles and how various countries managed the issue compared to Australia.
He was spurred to campaign for the laws after he watched the slow and painful death of his father in 1997, an experience he said "has never left me".
Mr Denton has thrown his support behind The Canberra Times' Our Right To Decide campaign, which is calling on the federal parliament to repeal the Andrews Bill.
The bill, which came into force in 1997, banned the territories from making laws on euthanasia. It was introduced in response to the Northern Territory becoming the first place in the world to legalise voluntary assisted dying.
It was spearheaded by federal Liberal backbencher Kevin Andrews, who argued the Commonwealth couldn't "wash its hands" of a decision of life or death taken by a jurisdiction with a population the size of "suburban municipality in Melbourne or Sydney".
But Mr Denton said that argument no longer held up, given four states have legalised voluntary assisted dying.
"The argument that was made at the time that this is something out of step with what society's standards are or what is needed or wanted by the community is just nonsense," he said.
"Two territories that have a [combined] population larger than Tasmania, that just passed a similar law, attempting to stop them from even deciding for themselves whether they should have that is just ridiculous.
"It's the essence of undemocratic. This is a law that already exists now in four places in Australia. There is a solid basis for it to exist elsewhere.
"The ACT legislature might debate it and they might not pass it ... I suspect they will."
Mr Denton believes people have suffered due to a lack of voluntary assisted dying legislation.
"In the states and territories where this law doesn't exist there are desperate people who are in need of these laws and to feel that there is not even a glimpse of a pathway forward is profoundly depressing," he said.
"These laws haven't passed because they're trendy and passed because of opinion polls. They've passed because there has been really solid evidence that our existing laws at the end of life are creating unnecessary suffering and are leading to terrible consequences."
- 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.
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