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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2855 ..

Ms Carnell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, and a serious point of order: That is not what this debate is about. This debate is about whether we adjourn or not, full stop.

MR SPEAKER: The motion is, in fact, about whether or not we postpone. I would remind members that that is the motion.

MR CORBELL: Thank you for the correction, Mr Speaker. It is indeed about whether or not we postpone this debate until a later month. But it is not just about endorsing the postponement; it is about whether or not members in this place are prepared to allow a process that will result in this Assembly being put in a position to pass a law which I think most members in this place are not confident about and do not understand the full implications of. That is what this postponement proposal is about. It is about whether or not we feel that we are capable of passing this law today and whether or not we are confident that the community of this city has had the opportunity to comment fully on the propositions that have been put to us only within the last 24 hours, because the amendments are only 24 hours old. Mr Speaker, that is the proposition.

That is why it is important that members state their view. If they do not state their view, they are condoning a process which denies the residents of this city, the people we are elected to represent, an opportunity to comment fully and which denies us an opportunity to understand completely the implications of what is being put before us.

MR BERRY (12.04), in reply: Mr Speaker, I think that we have heard all of the arguments, comprehensively, to postpone this debate. I am disappointed that the Chief Minister has not expressed a view.

Mr Humphries: Yes, you would be, wouldn't you? It is the old game, is it not - get Kate Carnell? Forget about abortion, forget about women; it is all about Kate Carnell, isn't it, Mr Berry?

MR BERRY: I just think it is important, Mr Speaker, that the leader of the Government, and the other women in this Assembly, might have expressed a view in this debate.

Ms Carnell: I promise that I will, but not on whether we adjourn or not.

MR BERRY: Whether we postpone or not. Mr Speaker, I think the motion to postpone has been well made out by all of the speakers who have supported it by way of the contributions they have made. I must admit that when I came into this place this morning I did not know about the letter from Mr Refshauge. It arrived at 10.43 am. It cast a new light on the urgency to delay final consideration of this matter. What he has said is quite alarming. Indeed, Mr Speaker, as I assume that every member has a copy of this in their office, I will not take the trouble to circulate it - although it may be important that it is on the record in the Assembly; so perhaps I will seek leave to table it.

Leave granted.

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