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Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2012

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2010-2011-2012

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2012

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator R Di Natale)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

RESTORING TERRITORY RIGHTS (VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA LEGISLATION) Bill 2012

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this bill is to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 which amended the Acts regarding self-government in the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island to prevent the legislative assemblies in those territories from making laws providing for voluntary euthanasia in their respective jurisdictions . It thereby recognises the rights of citizens of these territories and their elected representatives to make laws for the peace, order and good government of their territories.

 

The passage of the Euthanasia Laws Act in 1997 had the effect of overturning the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 which had been in operation for several months. This bill does not restore that Act, but restores the rights of the respective Legislative Assemblies to make law regarding this issue in future should they chose to do so.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short Title

 

1.       This is a formal provision specifying the short title.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

2.       This clause provides that the Act will commence the day the Act receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Objects of the Act

 

3.       This clause summarises the purpose of the Act.

 

Clause 4 - Schedules

 

4.       This clause provides that an Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule, and any other item in a Schedule operates according to its terms.

 

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

 

Item 1

 

This item repeals section 50A of the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 , which prevents the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from making laws with respect to voluntary euthanasia.

 

Item 2

 

This item repeals subsections 23(1A) and (1B) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 which restricts the ACT Legislative Assembly in making laws with respect to voluntary euthanasia.

 

Items 3 and 4

 

These items repeals paragraph 19(2)(d) and subsection 19(2A) of the Norfolk Island Act 1979 which restricts the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly in making laws with respect to voluntary euthanasia.

 

Schedule 2 - Repeal of the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997

 

The items in this Schedule repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 in its entirety.

 



Text Box: Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights
 Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011
 
 Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2012
 This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.
 
 
 Overview of the Bill
 This Bill repeals the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 and restores the rights of the legislative assemblies in the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island to make laws regarding voluntary euthanasia. This bill neither creates nor limits any rights regarding end-of-life decisions.
 
 Human rights implications
 This Bill does not negatively impact on any human rights, as its only function is to lift a restriction on the powers of the legislative assemblies of the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island to make laws regarding voluntary euthanasia.
 As the bill does not change domestic law regarding the rights of the terminally ill nor make any provision for voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide it does not engage any of the relevant conventions that enumerate rights regarding an individual’s ability to make decisions regarding their own time and manner of death.
 By reducing restrictions on the assemblies of the territories to make laws governing their own affairs, the bill enhances the democratic rights of citizens of these territories. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights contains several articles regarding the rights of any people to self-determination which may be engaged by this bill, including Article 1 which states:
 All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
 Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights contains the same language regarding self-determination.
 Conclusion 
 The Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not infringe or limit existing rights, but will enhance the rights of Territorians to make laws regarding their own affairs according to democratic processes.
 
 Senator R Di Natale