Forty years on from self-government for the Northern Territory, we still do not have full self-government, full states rights.
This is a current issue, which has come to public attention in relation to our power to make laws relating to assisted dying, or euthanasia.
The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) was passed by the Northern Territory Parliament in 1995, and came into effect in 1996. The Territory Act was overturned by the Commonwealth Parliament in 1997, which passed the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, commonly known as the Andrews Bill, because it was sponsored by Kevin Andrews MP.
There is now a bill being debated in the Senate put forward by Senator David Leyonhjelm which would remove the limitations imposed by the Euthanasia Laws Act 1977 on the right of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory to make laws relating to euthanasia.
There are many people, who oppose it, but that is not really the point here. The point is that we in the Territory should have the right to make up our own mind on this issue, to make laws which suit our unique circumstances, and not be told what to think and what to do by the Commonwealth Parliament.
Malcolm Turnbull has told Territorians in the NT and the ACT, that we are second class citizens. That we don’t deserve to have the same democratic rights of other Australians.
The Territories should have the right to make the laws for their citizens and that these laws cannot be interfered with by the Commonwealth.
This is about equal rights for the Territories in line with the States.