Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1746 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the abortion debate is about the democratic right of women to choose. The legislation, as I see it, attacks that fundamental right. I feel very passionately about that. I cannot make the same mistake as Mr Osborne is making with his legislation and take away his fundamental right to introduce legislation into this Assembly - a right that is backed by the fact that he has been elected here. It is a very difficult situation, Mr Speaker, because there are two issues that are effectively in conflict. One is the intensity with which I feel that Mr Osborne ought not attack women's rights, and the other is the need for members of this Assembly to protect Mr Osborne's rights in dealing with this legislation. Mr Speaker, I will not make the same mistake as Mr Osborne is making.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): I seek leave to speak again.
MS CARNELL: Thank you very much. I will be very brief, Mr Speaker. Twice before in this place, to my knowledge, motions have been put forward asking for Bills to be brought on that the movers were not keen to bring on. One of them related to Mr Berry's Bill in 1994 when there was a motion in the Assembly to ask Mr Berry to bring that Bill on. Mr Berry had had that Bill on the table from August to November. He had had it on the table for quite a long time. A motion was brought forward in the Assembly asking Mr Berry to bring that Bill on for debate. It was defeated, Mr Speaker. It was defeated quite stunningly. That was not a motion asking Mr Berry to take the Bill off the notice paper and not debate it at all. It was one asking Mr Berry, after a number of months, to debate it. This Assembly, I think rightly - I think the position that the Liberal Party took at the time was wrong - suggested that that Bill should be brought on for debate.
There was one other time, Mr Speaker, and that related to the citizens-initiated referenda Bill. It was my piece of legislation, Mr Speaker, and the Assembly moved to bring it on for debate against my wishes. Mr Speaker, in that circumstance - - -
Mr Moore: It was on the daily program. There is a difference.
MS CARNELL: Actually, so was Mr Berry's. Mr Speaker, I think, in both circumstances, that the Assembly made a mistake. I believe that the Assembly should not request that a private members Bill or a Bill be brought on against the will of the particular mover. But, Mr Speaker, that is not what we are talking about here. What we are talking about here is a motion in this Assembly to ask a member not to debate their legislation at all. This is fundamentally different. I think it was wrong for members of the Assembly to ask that Bills be brought on against the will of the mover, but this is a hundred times worse. This is about having no debate at all. I thought it was important to clarify those two issues, Mr Speaker, because I think some members may have got some of the facts wrong.
MR OSBORNE (11.34): As I indicated earlier, I will not be withdrawing the Bill. This certainly is an issue that I have not taken lightly. I was accused, I think by Ms Tucker, of being antidemocratic by introducing the Bill the way that I did, but I would like to remind members that I did seek leave to introduce the Bill, and it was only at 9.30 that morning that we decided to table the Bill.