Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 August 2022) . . Page.. 2377 ..
I continue to maintain hope that change can happen in the US and around the world, that rights to abortion can be upheld as fundamental human rights, and that these fundamental human rights continue to be protected and maintained.
As a feminist, it is hard to come to terms with the reopening of these debates that intersect with so many people’s lived experiences of discrimination and pain—a debate in the ACT that my parents’ generation engaged in 20 years ago.
It is important to remember that the journey to equality and autonomy is long and ongoing, but we can feel strong from the solidarity that so many of us have shown. I invite members to join with me in reaffirming this ongoing solidarity and support my motion in the Assembly today.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.45): I thank Minister Berry for bringing forward this motion today. I would like to start by acknowledging that abortion is a deeply personal issue. It is a very personal matter for many in our community, in this place and certainly within the Canberra Liberals. We have a range of views, and we have to respect those views.
I am sure you will all be aware that the Canberra Liberals normally treat matters of life and death, such as abortion, as a conscience matter; so we have discussed this motion in terms of whether it evoked people’s conscience. Also, as Liberals, we do believe in personal choice and personal responsibility, and people have the right to live their lives how they deem appropriate.
As a proud feminist, I personally believe that women should have full autonomy over their bodies and not be dictated to by others on what they can and cannot do. I believe that, for far too many years in our history, laws relating to women were made for them and not by them. It is decisions like this reversal of Roe v Wade in the USA that are a stark reminder of how easily things can go backwards.
I am proud that here in the ACT Legislative Assembly we have such strong female representation. I believe that this female representation will contribute positively to support for this motion today. I note that this motion comes just days after we reflected on the life and achievements of Helen Cross, and I acknowledge her contribution to women’s access to abortion in the ACT.
The overturning of Roe v Wade also highlights the differences in how the United States governs as opposed to Australia. Through the politicisation of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States, this is what can happen in the end.
I am also grappling in my own mind with what appears to be an apparent contradiction in terms, in this week, when we have seen what I believe is a very positive result, in terms of the House of Reps passing the territory rights bill for the ACT and the Northern Territory. We support state and territory rights. We fought for these territory rights. Again, not everyone is of the same view. On the other hand, the overturning of Roe v Wade has given the states in the United States the power to legislate in these areas. So on one hand we are saying that we want the states to have