Our Right to Decide: NT Senator Sam McMahon Defies Land Rights Bill | Canberra weather


Liberal country Sam McMahon is hoping his land rights bill could still be passed by parliament, though his government has said it has “no plans” to help repeal the federal ban on ACT and the Northern Territory to develop their own euthanasia laws.

Senator McMahon believes that while the government may not support land rights, the federal Parliament “may have other ideas.”

But with Labor signaling that it will not support the bill either, that now seems extremely unlikely.

The governments of ACT and the Northern Territory issued a joint statement last week condemning the Morrison government’s position, which they said showed contempt for the concerns of their citizens.

The federal government’s position appears to have dashed any hope that land rights can be restored in this Parliament, as an election looms on the horizon. Canberra weather campaigned for the bill to be repealed as part of his Our Right to Decide campaign.

But the architect of the bill to restore the Northern Territory’s right to legislate on euthanasia refuses to admit defeat.

Although Senator McMahon’s bill is different from the one passed in 1997, it would have the same effect of allowing the Parliament of the Northern Territory to re-legislate on voluntary assisted dying.

ACT was excluded from the bill after liberal ACT Senator Zed Seselja signaled that he would not support his Coalition colleague’s proposal.

In a statement, Senator McMahon criticized ACT and the Northern Territory Labor government for their “nefarious” interpretation of Senator Cash’s letter.

“When Minister Cash said the ‘government’ did not intend to change the laws, she was right,” she said.

“However, Parliament may have other ideas and we will see when my private senator’s bill – Guaranteeing the rights of the Northern Territory is debated and voted on.”

Senator McMahon, who previously expressed confidence that her bill would pass the upper house if voted on, pointed out that it was the federal parliament, not the government, that passed the bill. Andrews Act in 1997.

There is, however, one essential difference between the two private members’ bills.

While Liberal backbench MP Kevin Andrews’ bill received the blessing of then-prime minister John Howard in 1997, Sam McMahon’s proposal received no approval from Scott. Morrison or Barnaby Joyce.


In her statement, Senator McMahon accused the Northern Territory of “false outrage” after condemning Senator Cash’s position, failing to submit a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into her bill.

The ACT government made a presentation outlining its arguments for repealing Bill Andrews.

Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus told ABC Radio in Darwin on Monday that Labor supported land rights.

However, Mr Dreyfus said if a bill were linked to physician-assisted dying – like the Andrews Act is – Labor members would likely be given a vote of conscience. Canberra weather understands that the Labor caucus has yet to agree on an official political position on the issue.

Mr Dreyfus signaled that Labor would not support Senator McMahon’s bill, partly because it excluded ACT, but also because its legislation would allow land acquisition without compensation.

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