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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2587 ..

Suspension of Standing and Temporary Orders

MR OSBORNE (10.47): Mr Speaker, I move:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Osborne presenting the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Bill 1998.

MR BERRY (10.47): Mr Speaker, I understand that this will only be a 15-minute debate.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, that is correct.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, this is another example of this member's refusal to talk to other members about his strategies for dealing with important Bills which affect a significant proportion of the community. It is quite clear that this member has been stung by the opposition to the appalling legislation which was brought before this Assembly. It was introduced in the most suspicious manner when it was first brought forward last time. Here again we have an example of this member refusing to consult with other members in relation to private members business on such an important Bill.

Yesterday, this member, Mr Osborne, had the opportunity to raise at the Administration and Procedure Committee meeting his intentions in relation to the Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill. Instead, Mr Osborne sneakily gave the impression that the Bill was going to be debated today. It appears that overnight there has been some sort of a cook-up to ensure that Mr Osborne has the support of the Executive to withdraw his Bill, and to suspend standing orders in order that that can occur. Of course, this will save Mrs Carnell having to vote on the Bill, and I suspect that that is more to the point than most of us realise.

Mr Humphries: It is all about Mrs Carnell, isn't it. Forget abortion; it is Mrs Carnell.

MR BERRY: This is a clear example of sneaky tactics. Look at them laughing at the circumstances which give rise to this member's moves on this issue. From the very first moment that this member attempted to introduce his original Bill it has been done with stealth. It has been about taking the heat off himself. He has been badly burnt. He has been badly burnt by his actions in the past. There has been a significant public outcry about his behaviour and the effect of his legislation, and now he attempts to take the focus off himself.

I heard Mr Osborne lamenting the fact that people had said nasty things about him in relation to his original Bill, and that was why he was withdrawing it. I did not hear Mr Osborne say a word of sympathy for those 1,700 women who would be forced interstate to seek terminations.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Berry! We are not debating the substance of the Bill. We are debating the suspension of standing and temporary orders.

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