Land Rights: Labor shock plot to put McMahon Bill on the agenda | Canberra weather


news, federal politics, voluntary assisted dying, canberra, Katy Gallagher, Zed Seselja, Sam McMahon, Senate, Federal Parliament, land rights

Pressure to restore ACT’s right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying could reach federal parliament as early as Monday, reeling from a Labor plot that threatens to further disrupt the coalition in the final week of sitting of the year. The Canberra Times may reveal that Labor wants to take the rare step of giving up a slot allocated to one of its pieces of legislation to allow debate on coalition Senator Sam McMahon’s bill to leave the Northern Territory re-enact assisted dying laws. If the debate continues and clears the first key obstacles, Katy Gallagher of Labor will attempt to amend the bill to include ACT. Senator McMahon chose to controversially exclude ACT from his legislation after local senator and opponent of physician-assisted dying, Zed Seselja, signaled he would not support it. The chances that Senator Gallagher will have a chance to amend the bill – let alone reach a final vote in the Senate on Monday – are low, given time constraints. But a debate would at least make it possible to flush out the position of parliamentarians on the contentious issue. “The government should support this debate and Zed should stand up for his constituents and at least allow the debate to take place – even if he remains opposed to the bill,” Senator Gallagher told the Canberra Times. The government must accept Labor’s surprise request, raising the prospect of more controversy in the Senate if it blocks debate on the bill from fellow Liberals across the country for the second time in two weeks. Last week, the government ignored Senator McMahon’s bill, choosing instead to allow debate on the anti-vaccine mandate laws proposed by Pauline Hanson. Senator McMahon has been angered by the decision, accusing the One Nation leader of hijacking the government’s agenda by threatening to vote against all of her legislation unless she allows debate on her bill . The NT senator, who will step down from federal politics in the next election, had already considered handing over if her own bill was snubbed. She ultimately ended this threat with regard to the One Nation Bill, siding with four of her Coalition colleagues in voting against the government’s position. It was the prelude to a chaotic week for the Morrison government, which saw seven Coalition members cross the floor over various bills. The government’s decision to ignore the land rights bill for debate last week has apparently ended any hope that it could be put to a vote before the impending federal election. But that was before the surprise Labor intervention. READ MORE: Labor caucus resolved to oppose Senator McMahon’s bill, although that was before she rejected provisions he opposed regarding land acquisitions and place laws of work. The federal opposition has pledged to prioritize the debate on repealing the 1997 laws that prevent the two territories from passing assisted dying laws if they win the next election. The Canberra Times this year called for the repeal of Bill Andrews as part of its Our Right to Decide campaign. Senator Gallagher previously rejected invitations to Senator McMahon to amend his bill to include ACT, arguing that an outright repeal of the 1997 laws was the “only way” to restore the land’s rights. But the position of the Labor leader has softened. “If the Morrison government really cared about the democratic rights of the territories, it would have put its own senator’s bill in the window allotted to it last Monday,” said Senator Gallagher. “As we near the end of this Parliament and Senator McMahon steps down from the Senate in the election, it made sense for two Territorial Senators to work together to advance the land rights debate.” The Morrison government has previously indicated that it has no plans to repeal the Andrews Bill. The Canberra Times understands that Senator McMahon spoke at the Coalition party hall meeting last Tuesday to push for a conscience vote on her bill. She did not respond to Canberra Times requests for comment on Labor’s latest plan. Our journalists work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:




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