The ACT's push for its right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying has been dealt a blow after the federal Coalition government said there were no plans to reverse a Federal Parliament ban.
Federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has confirmed the Commonwealth government's position in a letter to the ACT and Northern Territory governments.
Senator Cash's response comes almost seven months after the territories accused the federal government of breaching international law.
ACT Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne and NT Attorney-General Selena Uibo wrote to former federal attorney-general Christian Porter in March.
In the joint letter they accused the federal government's laws of being inconsistent with Australia's international human rights obligations, as territorians were refused democratic rights of citizens of other states.
The letter, which was also addressed to the then-deputy prime minister Michael McCormack and the Assistant Minister for Territories Nola Marino, had been handballed across portfolios before Ms Cash responded last week.
In her response, Senator Cash said the federal government had no current plans to introduce legislation to repeal the ban on the territories.
"The government recognises that members of the community have strong views about dying with dignity, compassion, and with minimal pain," Senator Cash's letter said.
"The government believes that people should have access to quality palliative care and relief from pain and suffering and that, where possible, people should be able to choose the extent of active medical treatment they receive.
"The underlying principle of the government's investment in health services in quality of life, including during end of life care.
"While I appreciate the diversity of views, the government does not have any current plans to introduce legislation to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act."
In a joint statement, Ms Cheyne and Ms Uibo slammed the response, saying it failed to respond to the human rights implications the letter had raised.
"Attorney-General Cash's correspondence ignores the very real concerns of ACT and Northern Territory citizens, and that of our governments," Ms Cheyne and Ms Uibo said.
"It shows contempt towards the issues reflected by citizens across Australia who are appalled that ACT and NT residents cannot engage in a genuine way on this issue while residents in every single state can.
"The response also lacks reasoning and an explanation behind the Commonwealth Government persisting with its approach to allow for the democratic rights of citizens in its own country to be inconsistent, simply based on whether a resident lives in a state or territory."
Ms Cheyne and ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury will move a motion in the territory's Legislative Assembly on Friday denouncing the correspondence received from the federal Attorney-General.
The territories have been barred from making their own laws on voluntary assisted dying since 1997, after Liberal MP Kevin Andrews introduced a bill to block the territories ability to legislate on the matter.
The Andrews Bill was introduced in response to the NT legalising voluntary assisted dying in 1995.
The bill has become seen as increasingly untenable as five states have legalised voluntary assisted dying in the past three years. The only state to not do so is NSW, however, a bill is expected to be introduced to the NSW Parliament by the end of the year.
The new NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet indicated he would support a conscience vote on the issue.
The issue has received renewed attention after NT Country Liberal Senator Sam McMahon introduced a bill to the federal parliament in August to restore the NT's rights to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
MORE OUR RIGHT TO DECIDE CAMPAIGN
However, Senator McMahon chose to exclude the ACT after her government colleague ACT Senator Zed Seselja indicated he would not support it.
The parliamentary committee which examined Senator McMahon's bill handed down its report this week but the committee refused to rule on the appropriateness of blocking the territories from making euthanasia laws.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has personally expressed support for territory rights to be restored, in August he said it was time for territories to make their own political decisions.
ACT Senator and Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher has been pushing for a commitment to allow debate on a repeal of the Andrews Bill to be included in the party's election platform.
The Canberra Times has been calling for the Andrews Bill to be repealed as part of its Our Right to Decide campaign.
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