Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1743 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this is a slightly different matter today. This is a matter of requesting that a Bill be dumped, not calling for a Bill to be dumped. Apparently there is a difference. I am jiggered if I know what it is, but there is a difference, apparently. Mr Speaker, this is different in some respect, but in essence it is very similar.

In the rush to oppose Mr Osborne's abortion Bill, some are willing to trample on free speech. I think that is a very regrettable step. In the heat of the moment, after the heat of a large rally outside yesterday, it is very easy to come into this place and move motions to require, or to call for, or to request - using a great deal of moral pressure, I might say - individual members to pull pieces of legislation which are before the chamber. That is not our duty as members of this place. Our duty as members of this place is to debate issues which are legitimate issues in the community. Whatever we might say about this Bill, it is an issue in this community. It is a real issue. It is an issue of great concern to a great many people and it deserves to be considered.

Let me pay tribute to Mr Berry. Mr Berry is a single-minded individual. Mr Berry has a very focused idea of what he wants to do. Today he is focusing again on the issue that he has focused on practically since the first day he entered this place, and that is to attack what he calls the conservatives. Mr Berry has seen a chance here to split a few conservatives from others who have been opponents of Mr Osborne's legislation. He sees a chance to split Ms Carnell, in particular, who was an opponent of this Bill, from other opponents of the Bill. Now, that is a great achievement, is it not? He comes into this place and moves a motion which has the effect of splitting the pro-abortion lobby. A spectacular achievement.

Mr Moore: No. There is nobody here who is pro-abortion. There is nobody here that I know is pro-abortion. We are pro-choice.

MR HUMPHRIES: All right. Okay. Pro-choice, as Mr Moore puts it. I think it is a rather dubious achievement, but, nonetheless, Mr Berry is focusing on what he has always focused on since day one in this place. Mr Speaker, I do not propose to ask any member, however much I might disagree with their views, to suppress those views because they are unpalatable to be heard in this place. That is not my job as a member of parliament. My job is to face arguments, to debate them, to argue against them if I disagree with them, and to put them to the test of the democratic process. It is not to suppress them.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.22): Mr Speaker, the inconsistency that has been displayed by the Labor Party over the last two weeks is unparalleled, I think, in the history of this place. Last week Mr Osborne was being berated because it was all happening too quickly. This week it should not happen at all.

I think that all in this place have to agree that Mr Osborne is well within his rights in bringing forward his Bill when he wants to. In fact, he would be remiss in representing his constituency if he did not bring forward the issues that they think are important. I think this Assembly should support him in his right to present his Bill and represent those people who have elected him. Anyone here who wishes to oppose the content of

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .