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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2839 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

We were then presented with 10 pages of amendments by Mr Humphries, I think one day before the debate. Those amendments were hurriedly turned into a Bill, which Mr Osborne then claimed as his. That was one week ago. We are now in a situation where it appears that we will be forced to debate this issue to its completion one week after it was tabled. It is not the same Bill that Mr Osborne tabled some months ago. It has different issues that need consideration and that the community needs an opportunity to talk to members about.

What I find absolutely stunning about this process is that people who are considering supporting this Bill or an amended version of it apparently understand and are across all the complicated issues that are brought up by this Bill. I want to list what they are. I am going to actually have available a copy of this list of issues for every member in this place who will support this Bill being debated today. I will expect a full and detailed explanation from each of those members on each of those points to justify their support for pushing this legislation through, because I can tell you, Mr Speaker, I have not had time to consult widely on this. I have not had time to understand the complexities of these legal, medical and social issues. I am fascinated by the thought that the rest of the members of this place have.

That is why I wait with great interest to hear how they respond to these issues. I believe that they owe it to the ACT community to be very articulate on these issues. I am sure that members of this place will grant as many extensions of time as are required. We will be happy to grant leave to speak again, if necessary, because this is obviously such an important issue that we want members to have the opportunity to go into the subject in detail.

Firstly, members, I assume that you understand the issues around the preamble. We are looking forward to an explanation from you of why it is good law to regulate an activity which is illegal. We are interested to hear from you what you believe this will mean for medical practitioners who are being regulated whilst doing an illegal act. How will you advise them to deal with this? What is the implication of the mention of the Crimes Act in the preamble to this legislation? How have you come to this position? And whom did you consult with?

Now we get to the definitions part. What are the implications of the term "approved facility" and the manner in which this will be determined by regulation? Are members going to amend this legislation now to take into account comments from the scrutiny of Bills committee, such as the definition of "parent" being unclear, inconsistency in the definition of "woman", and so on?

Now we get to the information section. How do you know that this information is correct? Whom have you consulted with? Are you across all the most recent research? Why do you believe that it is appropriate to give only the risks of abortion and not the risks of having the child? How does this relate to other serious medical procedures? How does this fit with the medical profession's ethical standards and responsibility? Where is the evidence that the existing facility does not provide women with information they need to support their decision? Whom have you consulted with on this?

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