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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2854 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I support the postponement of this debate because I would like to see it proven that the amendments that Mr Moore proposes to Mr Osborne's Bill actually address some of the questions that Family Planning have. If they do, perhaps there is going to be an easier life for them. I would like to see whether those amendments actually do address the issue that Mr Smyth raised - that there are so many abortions in this town and, if we can prevent one of them, the whole thing is worth it. I would like to see it happen.

I am not particularly firm on how long the delay needs to be; but I think that doing it today, rushing headlong into it today, with what appears to be conflicting information placed before us, is placing a rather heavy burden on us, and particularly on those of us for whom the issue is not black and white. I ask the people here who have an absolute clarity in their minds about what we are talking about to consider this: Is the Bill about abortion or not? Is the Bill about information or not? Is there a connection in there or not? Is it going to infringe people's rights? Are we talking about one life or are we talking about two lives? When does life begin and when does it actually take human form? Is that relevant? I would like them to answer those questions. If they have that clarity in their minds, then they are very fortunate people, because, Mr Speaker, I have only got half of that clear in my mind. It is an enormous responsibility for those of us in this chamber who are not the lucky recipients of a black-and-white picture. I would urge all of the members who do not have any difficulty with proceeding with this thing now because either their minds are made up or they have a speed-reading ability that we can all envy to consider the position that people like me are in.

I would also be interested in the views of those members who have not spoken yet, because I think they owe it to us to assist us. I think they owe it to the community to make their positions known - whether they are pro one position, pro another position or, like me, in a position of abject confusion. I think they owe it to people. We cannot have people just sitting silently in this chamber when we are talking about these sorts of issues. I challenge those who have not spoken yet to do so.

Ms Carnell: On whether we adjourn or not?

MR HARGREAVES: It is up to you, Kate. The ball is in your court.

Ms Carnell: Oh, don't be silly.

MR HARGREAVES: I am not being silly. That is an arrogant way of approaching it.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I rise only briefly to respond to some comments across the chamber from the Chief Minister. Those comments were, basically: What is the point of making a comment on whether or not we adjourn? The Chief Minister nods. Mr Speaker, it is important that members in this place declare their position. It is important, because it is not just about endorsing whether or not we adjourn; it is about whether or not you endorse the process that it is proposed this Bill goes through.

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