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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2601..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

tonight that no doubt he will have to be vigilant and stand against people who will come back and try to have this debate again. He is probably right, and he should be accorded then-should it ever appear again as an issue for debate in this place-the courtesy of actually being heard.

I don't think it's unreasonable-because I am going to speak for my five minutes and I'm sure at least two other speakers will speak for their five minutes. Every time we go through this we will actually waste 15 minutes talking about the right of a member of the Assembly to be heard. This is one of those issues on which we try to extend to each other the courtesy of not interjecting across the chamber. It is one of the rare events where most members are heard in silence. It has always been one of those events where we are heard as often as we wish, given the importance of the issue.

My understanding is that Mr Pratt and Mrs Dunne wanted to make a small point. It would have taken a few minutes. It is a simple courtesy on a very important issue and I will move that standing orders be suspended to allow them to speak again, and I will speak again myself.

MR BERRY (9.02): I don't respond kindly to threats such as those that were made by Mr Smyth. He has already spoken and said the same thing over and over again a couple of times. And, of course, with extensions of time and whingeing that he's not being heard, it is just a little bit over the top, I think. I know that people get a bit more strained as the day goes on, but at the end of the day if you try to threaten people in this place with some sort of a silly filibuster, nobody else will end up speaking because I am sure the majority of members in here will just get sick of it and the question will be pressed. So, in that event, I am content to yield on this question, but I don't want to hear the same thing over and over again.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Well, of course, that would be out of order, Mr Berry-repetition.

MR BERRY: Of course it would!

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

MR SMYTH: Mr Deputy Speaker, I will be very brief. Mr Corbell raised the point of why we have these regulations for pregnancy and no other condition. It is because pregnancy is like no other condition; it is neither a disease nor an injury. That is why it is different, that is why it is separate, that is why it is special, and that is why it should have these regulations to protect it.

The point was made about people following their religious beliefs and that is why they might be for this or against this, but it would appear that, as was said earlier by Dr Mango, any honest clinician or researcher will come to the conclusion that large numbers of women who have had abortions, whether they believe in God or not, develop self-destructive behaviours. And if people have read the article this morning by a lady under the pseudonym of Katherine Smith, they will have seen that she says:

In my case, the information given to me by the abortion provider ... was minimal ...


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