Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2836 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I think the protest from the community shook Mr Osborne a bit. I think Mr Osborne expected it to doddle through the Assembly with the support of some members, without any public scrutiny at all. Thankfully, the community response to his efforts was strong, and deservedly so. Mr Speaker, that community response went on for some time. It involved deputations and representations to all of the members of this place. Those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice were subjected to the pressures from the individual pressure groups within the community.
Mr Osborne steadfastly refused to indicate what he was doing, until the last minute, when he indicated that 18 November was a likely day for the reintroduction of his Bill. We all stood back and wondered what was going on behind the scenes. We now know that Mr Osborne and Mr Humphries were collaborating on a set of amendments, some of which might save Mr Osborne from some pain from the pressure that he had received in the community, pressure that he had never had before. At the end of the day, whilst rumours persisted, nobody ever saw what was going on in respect of these amendments.
By 18 November it had become clear that everything was not going Mr Osborne's way, as should have been the case. It was an appalling piece of legislation, designed to stop abortions in the ACT and to humiliate women. That is what it was about. It was about imposing the narrow views of individuals on women. It was about saying to women, "It is not your choice; it is mine".
Mr Humphries: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. I can understand Mr Berry wanting to put these issues in the course of debate today; but it seems to me that the issue he has raised in his motion is designed to delay the debate, and he should focus on the reason for delay rather than recite all the arguments that we are presumably going to have later today, if this motion does not succeed. So I think Mr Berry would make the proceedings a little bit easier to handle if he was a little bit more to the point.
MR BERRY: That was a very disingenuous use of the standing orders, Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries knows clearly what I am trying to do here. I am trying to win the support of certain members in this place to an important cause; that is, the deferment of this legislation. All of the background is necessary in the scheme of things so members can consider it. You yourself may have heard it all before, Mr Humphries; but in this debate you have not heard it yet, and I am going to reinforce it at every opportunity.
MR SPEAKER: But not if I decide otherwise. I would caution you, Mr Berry. As Mr Humphries rightly points out, this motion does speak of a deferral. I understand that you need to make the case for why it should be deferred, and you have given some background already in relation to how this legislation was introduced in the first place. But that does not, I believe, require you to then enter into the debate on the pros and cons of the issue. I think you were perfectly in order to have made mention of how the matter was introduced, because that is very germane to what you are saying and why you seek to have it deferred; but I do not believe that you can discuss the issue itself, and I just caution you and remind you of that. Please continue.