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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3488..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, action speaks louder than words. In the last sitting a new piece of legislation was brought in by the Stanhope government that defined family members, but it did not allow for the inclusion of same-sex couples in that definition. This bill will rectify that problem and allow all family members access to the courts, be they straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex members of our community here in Canberra. The ACT Democrats believe that there should be no second-class citizens in Canberra and nobody should suffer the indignity of having fewer rights. By passing this bill we will provide equal access to justice for all family members.

I commend the bill to the house.

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

Crimes Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Pratt, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR PRATT (10:35): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the first and most important point that I can make-and I intend to labour this point a little-is that this bill is not intended to, nor in practical terms can it, undermine the recent legislation passed by the Assembly in relation to lawful abortions. While it is true to say that this anomaly was identified in the lead-up to the abortion debate, as a result of the level of scrutiny and analysis applied to the Crimes Act at that time, it is not true to say that this bill is designed to be a "backdoor"way of revisiting the abortion debate.

There are a number of key features in this bill that made very clear that lawful abortions in the ACT are recognised and sanctioned from the provisions of the bill. The very first amendment to the Crimes Act provided by the bill is the insertion of a new section 42A, subsection (1) of which states very clearly:

This section does not apply to-

(a) a lawful abortion; or

This new section does a couple of things in relation to the abortion debate. Not only does it clearly exclude lawful abortions from the provisions of the bill, it also enshrines in the Crimes Act an acknowledgment of "lawful abortions". In addition, subsection 1 (b) of new section 42A also provides that the section does not apply to:

anything done by a pregnant woman in relation to her own unborn child; or

These are two vital paragraphs deliberately designed to separate the issues surrounding this bill from the issues surrounding the recent abortion debate in the Assembly. I understand fully the sensitivity of some members in relation to this issue, which is why


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