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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2851 ..

Mr Osborne: I have a point of order, Mr Speaker. I certainly did not do that.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order. Just be careful, Mr Stanhope.

MR STANHOPE: I am sorry. I will respond then to the comments that Mr Osborne just made which related to Ms Follett. I was not suggesting anything else, Mr Osborne; there was, perhaps, some looseness in my language. Nevertheless, it is quite relevant for us to have some regard to the fact that Ms Follett, as the Discrimination Commissioner, is providing advice that in her position as Discrimination Commissioner she believes the proposed Bill potentially breaches the Discrimination Act.

That is just a bald statement of fact by the Discrimination Commissioner and it is a view, having been expressed by the Discrimination Commissioner, which we must take seriously. It is the sort of issue which those of us here today may be able to draw some conclusions on, but it is an issue in relation to which we should perhaps draw on other advice. I refer in that context to the report tabled yesterday by the scrutiny of Bills and subordinate legislation committee, a committee chaired by Mr Osborne. In a report tabled in this place yesterday, by Mr Osborne, Mr Osborne's committee tended to support Ms Follett. Yesterday Mr Osborne, in a report tabled by him, provided this information to us. This is your report, Mr Osborne, and it reads:

Laws governing abortions may also involve debates about the scope of the "right to privacy". In Article 17.1 of the ICCPR it is stated:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy [, or] family ...

I am quoting there. The ICCPR obviously does not take appropriate account of gender language. The report goes on:

Some argue that the right of a woman to her privacy includes an unqualified right to decide whether she will terminate her pregnancy.

The statement in Article 17.1 that a person shall not be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with her or his family brings other interests into focus. The woman may claim that any limitation on her ability to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy is an interference with her family.

And it goes on. It is interesting, Mr Osborne, that in your own report you actually go into some discussion on this and say:

These claims by women, fathers and parents based on Article 17.1 may also be based on or supported by Article 23.1, which states that

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

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