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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1732 ..


MR SPEAKER: Pursuant to subsection 8(4) of the Legislative Assembly (Broadcasting of Proceedings) Act 1997, I present an authorisation to broadcast given to a number of television and radio networks in relation to proceedings of the Assembly for today, 2 September 1998, concerning debate on the motion relating to the Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill 1998.


MR BERRY (10.41): I move:

That this Assembly requests Mr Osborne move to withdraw the Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill 1998.

Yesterday, Mr Speaker, I gave formal notice of this motion. We have requested Mr Osborne to move to withdraw the Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill. On drafting that motion I was very careful to consult widely on the issue. I consulted with the Women's Electoral Lobby, the Family Planning Association and the Women's Legal Service. I also talked to various MLAs around this place, including some amongst the Liberal Party. I am sure that Mr Moore will not mind me mentioning that I consulted with him. I consulted also with Ms Tucker. I also consulted with my Labor colleagues. We have a policy position that we have a conscience vote in relation to this matter, and the leader of the party announced that Labor would be supporting this request at the rally yesterday.

Mr Speaker, at the outset I think it is important to raise the issue of where the motion comes from, to ensure that people understand what this is about. I saw a press release from the Chief Minister which I should deal with at the outset. It talks about "Berry's backflip on abortion". Those who saw the Chief Minister yesterday accepting warm congratulations from the thousands gathered in the square on her statement that she was pro-choice could believe today that they might have been misled as the Chief Minister has made it clear that she will not be supporting this move to seek that Mr Osborne withdraw this Bill.

Mr Speaker, the most often repeated request at yesterday's gathering of thousands was: "Withdraw the Bill, Mr Osborne". As I said, that was the most often repeated request. This Bill that is before the house has been put forward without consultation. In fact, it sets out to turn back the clock. The overwhelming majority of people in the Canberra community are opposed to this Bill. It creates a level of disquiet that we have not experienced in the recent past, and probably in the life of this Assembly, because of the draconian moves that it seeks to implement.

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