Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1340 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
of the gender balance in this place. It continues to concern me that we have an Assembly of 15 men and two women debating this issue and the prospect of not having an open and full community debate. I would like some undertakings now that no deal has been done to crash this business through today or tomorrow.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for debate on the suspension of standing orders has expired.
MS TUCKER: I seek leave to extend the debate, Mr Speaker.
MS TUCKER (11.50): This is a debate that has to happen. I have been taken by surprise as well and am concerned, but at this point I will talk about whether or not Mr Moore can speak to his concerns about possible misleading statements in what Mr Osborne said to the Assembly. I support the right of Mr Moore, as Minister, to clarify that.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.51), in reply: Mr Speaker, leave has been granted to extend the debate. If I rise to speak I presume that will close the debate. I draw members' attention to that in case somebody else wants to speak. I would not want to restrict their right to do so.
MR SPEAKER: Heaven forbid!
MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, when I put this motion to suspend standing orders I was wanting to highlight some issues so that we can get some assurance, not just from Mr Osborne but other members, about the way this debate will be conducted. I wish to suspend standing orders to seek an assurance from Mr Osborne and other members of the Assembly that there will be a full public debate. Mr Speaker, I want to suspend standing orders because today we have been landed with a Bill. I must say that Mr Osborne did say to me earlier this morning that he would be introducing this Bill. I make that very clear. I certainly appreciated that. Mr Speaker, I also seek to suspend standing orders so that I can make a statement about the impact that this Bill is likely to have on the department.
However, I also want to suspend standing orders to get an understanding, when Mr Stanhope says that what we should do is conduct this debate carefully and openly to make sure that we respect each other's opinions, that this legislation, by its very nature, is disrespectful of the opinions and the choices of women. It does not respect their opinion to have their choice and their right. That is why this debate is so divisive, Mr Speaker. I want to suspend standing orders in order to make the point that this legislation is about attacking women; it is about attacking women's right to their own choice; it is about attacking women's prerogative in the way they deal with their own bodies. It is so fundamental. It is so direct. It goes so directly, Mr Speaker - - -
Mr Kaine: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Moore is clearly making the speech that he would make had he been given approval to suspend standing orders. There is no question about that. I think that he is out of order.