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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2852 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is interesting, Mr Osborne, that your committee goes on:

The Committee does not offer a view as to how a rights analysis would or would not support any of the provisions of this Bill. This is a matter for the Assembly.

One of the things that concerned me when I read your report of yesterday's date, Mr Osborne, was: How many of us here today, with the information available to us - in light of the fact that we will at some time today, if this matter goes ahead, be debating the third of the abortion Bills, Mr Moore's Bill - have the capacity or the tools at hand to engage in a rights analysis?

Mr Moore: I would like to take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sorry, Mr Stanhope, but there is something that I would like to just clarify. Mr Stanhope referred to my Bill. I do not have an abortion Bill. I will not put up a Bill. I have circulated some amendments to something that I consider an appalling piece of legislation.

Mr Wood: It is not a point of order.

MR SPEAKER: Order! It is a point of clarification.

Mr Wood: Where is that in the standing orders?

MR SPEAKER: Well, it is a point of clarification.

MR STANHOPE: Anyway, the point I wish to make is that I think it is quite ironic that the Discrimination Commissioner has provided advice that she believes that this Bill today is inconsistent with the Discrimination Act and, in making that decision, she relies primarily on its impacts on privacy; yet we had provided to us yesterday the report of the scrutiny of Bills and subordinate legislation committee, chaired by Mr Osborne, giving us a detailed analysis of how the abortion Bill possibly impinges on the privacy aspects of our international human rights obligations. So Mr Osborne's committee is, in effect, supporting the position put to us yesterday and that put to us last week, in a more formal sense, by the Discrimination Commissioner.

There is just one other remark I will make in relation to this. There was one other representation, which I think every member of the Assembly received, which brought home to me the seriousness of the issue that we are debating here today and which is the reason why I feel that we simply cannot proceed with this today, that we must take advice, that we must think much more seriously about the implications. That was the advice from Family Planning ACT. I do not know how many members have taken that advice to heart. Family Planning ACT has stated unequivocally to each of us that the impact of this Bill, as it stands, would potentially mean the closure of the Reproductive Healthcare facility and the necessity for women seeking such services to travel interstate. Family Planning ACT says, "We would have to close the clinic, for a number of reasons".

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