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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 112..


Part III (continuing):

I am happy that the Labor Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, has made an early move to repeal these regulations. But that is not enough. Another health minister can just as easily re-create offensive regulations under the provisions of this act. That is why the only real solution is to repeal the entire act with all of its unnecessary provisions.

That will include the repeal of the equally offensive and insulting requirement for women to be subjected to a 72-hour waiting period before a termination can be carried out. This provision ignores what happens when a woman discovers she has an unwanted pregnancy and visits her general practitioner before referral to the provider. This provision is one of the most offensive in the act. It makes the utterly false presumption that women come to these important decisions in a vacuum. This is the mindset of the 1860s when women were treated as the property of men.

The provisions in the act question the practice by the ACT clinic and suggest that the information given to women seeking an abortion is somehow deficient. But that position was put forward in ignorance of the practices in place at the clinic. During the debate in 1998, the ACT clinic offered their protocols to members to demonstrate that women seeking an abortion were given full information.

The legislation that I seek to repeal today was, on its introduction, the beginning of a low point in the relationship between the last Assembly and the community. It exposed extremes of views on this emotional issue for everybody. I have a great deal of regret about the passage of this legislation, not only because of my personal commitment to a woman's right to choose, but also for the anxiety that it caused amongst so many members of the community who regard this legislation as bad law.

It is my view that the Assembly needs to restore its standing in the community in relation to women's issues and, as this legislation has been the subject of so much disquiet and anger, the only solution, as I and many others see it, is to repeal the act. I trust members will support me in this regard.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Postponement of notices

Motion (by Ms Tucker) agreed to:

That consideration of notices Nos 3 and 4 be postponed until after consideration of notice No 7.

Land (Planning and Environment) Legislation Amendment Bill 2001

Ms Tucker, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


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