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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2838 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

be derelict in our duty, if we did not fully understand all of the issues surrounding this legislation before we entered into the debate. I have been associated with the abortion debate for a long time, and I can tell you that I do not fully understand the implications of the Osborne Bill. I heard this morning on radio some erudite explanations of the effects of the legislation. It was described by one eminent person as "ramshackle". When you have academics from the university describing legislation which we are about to consider within a week as "ramshackle", that, in my view, is cause for concern.

Mr Speaker, we also heard this morning on ABC radio a description of abortion law throughout Australia. I will bet that very few of the members of this place - and I will include Mr Osborne in this - fully understand the abortion laws throughout Australia, because they are complex. It is therefore most important that members sit back, take a few deep breaths and look at all of the aspects associated with the attempts which are being made here. This is an attempt to take the pressure off Mr Osborne. He deserves pressure for what he has done, because what he has done is unconscionable. It should never have happened.

This is an ideological agenda. It is the work of zealots who aim to restrict women's rights, who aim to impose their own opinions upon women. In other words, they are saying, "It is not your choice; it is mine. I am the one that is going to make the choice here. I am going to choose what hoops you will have to go through before you decide on whether you will have a termination or not". Indeed, this is an attempt to take over the consciousness of women. It is appalling that it is done with such short notice. Mr Speaker, the community expects better of its legislators, and I would seek Mr Osborne's support - - -

An incident having occurred in the gallery -


MR BERRY: I would seek Mr Osborne's support to postpone this legislation.

Mr Humphries: You only got half the gallery, Wayne.

MR BERRY: It is not funny, Mr Humphries.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired. Just before I call Ms Tucker, I would remind people in the gallery that you are most welcome to come and listen to this debate; but that is what I would like you to do - to listen. Applause, comments, et cetera, I am not prepared to tolerate. This is far too serious. I do have the power to suspend this sitting, and I will do so if things get out of control.

MS TUCKER (11.01): I rise to support this motion of adjournment. I am very concerned, as I think many people in the ACT community are, about how this issue has been handled in the Assembly. As members are well aware, initially when the Bill was tabled by Mr Osborne we were not aware that it would happen. Then there was a period of time when we were not allowed to know when it would be brought back to the Assembly. We were given about one day's notice of that, and that was only through persistence. I do not think every member was given even that one day's notice.

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