15 August 2018



SUBJECT/S: Territory Rights, Senator Anning

ADAM STEER, PRESENTER ABC BREAKFAST DARWIN: Despite the fact that euthanasia that you claim to struggle with was this a difficult speech for you to write?

SENATOR MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY: Enormously difficult Adam. Good Morning to you and good morning to all your listeners. I think I have, hopefully, articulated to the Senate the importance of the rights of the people of the Northern Territory in terms of our Northern Territory Legislative Assembly to be able to make decisions and I was also able to speak quite personally the impact as a politician of the Northern Territory Government what it is like to have your power removed.

STEER: I dont know if you just heard there that the former Treasurer Robyn Lambley saying that we shouldnt be cutting out ties at all with the Federal Government or the powers they have over us as we get 80 per cent of our funding from them. She is also suggesting that the current Labor Government is pushing the Northern Territory into so much debt that we are going to need further handouts in the next couple of years. Why should we be not allowing the Feds to look over our shoulders and supervise us?

MCCARTHY: I think we have to make a decision as a country in terms of certainly the Federal Parliament about what it does and doesnt do. In terms of the Northern Territory we certainly do rely on it because of the Self Government Act. We were also given within that Act the ability to make decision and we have to look at this in terms of the ability of Parliamentarians that have been elected by the people of the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory will always seek financial support from the Commonwealth, but so do the States. That will never change. It just depends of the extent of that request.

STEER: This has become an opportunity for many Senators, pretty much every Senator, to put their position on euthanasia on the record, how many focused on the issue of Territory rights?

MCCARTHY: Weve had quite a number of speakers already Adam and quite a few have spoken in relation to Territory rights because there are many Senators, like myself, who have a very different view in relation to euthanasia but they do understand that this is a bill that focuses on the rights of the people of the Northern Territory to make their own decisions.

STEER: So you are supporting the bill but dont support euthanasia as a right?

MCCARTHY: I struggle with euthanasia simply because as a Yanyuwa Garawa woman we dont seem to have that as a word in our language and I remember at the time in 1995 trying to talk to families and we were trying to understand it and we really struggled with it. So I would still struggle with it today but I do believe very firmly that the rights of the people of the Northern Territory to make their own laws is an important mechanism in democracy in this country. And for us to grow and mature as a people of Australian, in the North, then we need to be able to always make our own decisions.

STEER: Do you have a feeling whether this will pass or not in the Senate?

MCCARTHY: It can be very tight Adam, at this point, there is a view that it will only just pass. But look you never know until the bells go. There are many more speakers today, Senator Pat Dodson will complete his speech today, he certainly feels very differently. It is actually good to have a debate where Senators can actually speak, very convincingly about their particular views on this issue and I think it is really going to come down quite tightly on which way the vote goes.

STEER: Meanwhile, Fraser Anning used his First Speech to speak on a final solution on the immigration problem? Do you think there will be a consequence for such a poor choice of words?

MCCARTHY: I have already also been one of the ones calling on Senator Anning to apologise. It is creating great offence already down here, there are aspects in his speech that he has been trying give a response to this morning but, you know, there were just elements of his speech that need to called for what it is, and he does need to apologise.

STEER: Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, good to talk to you this morning.