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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2918 ..

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I have not made any personal comments at all, apart from stating the fact that Mr Berry raised the issue of abortion after the election. That is a true statement. I have not made any comments about that. The fact is that he did and from the moment that happened, even though Mr Stanhope tried to take it off the agenda, it was on the agenda of this Assembly.

Mr Quinlan: Not true.

MS CARNELL: I am sorry. Every statement I have made is true. I still have the letter Mr Berry sent me with regard to the issue.

Mr Quinlan: It is not true that it stayed on the agenda.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it has been on the agenda from that time. Fairly obviously, when the pre-election numbers were on the side of the pro-life movement, everybody on the pro-choice side was nervous, and I suppose people on the pro-life side thought they had a bit of a go here. From that moment we from the pro-choice side had a problem. I would have preferred no Bill. From my perspective, the status quo is fine.

Mr Osborne's first Bill was totally unacceptable. It had no redeeming features, because it was an anti-abortion Bill - nothing more, nothing less. The second Bill still has a number of problems which, if not fixed, will mean that I will not be able to support the final Bill. They include requiring a second doctor in the whole equation, requiring a doctor not associated with the family planning clinic to give information. I will not ever support a piece of legislation that requires names and addresses of patients to be given to a Minister, regardless of what condition or what procedure that patient may have had.

Mr Speaker, I do not believe that the provision to require parental consent for under-18s is acceptable in this day and age. I believe really strongly that that will create a huge problem for a lot of young people. Young people who are regarded as being quite capable of making many other decisions in their lives, for instance to have intercourse in the first instance, will have to ask for parental consent to go ahead with a termination. There would be many circumstances - and we have heard many of them today - in which that would be simply untenable for young people. I understand that something like 9 per cent of terminations conducted in the ACT are for women under the age of 18 - something like 150 a year.

Comments have been made that if Mr Osborne's first Bill or his second Bill unamended saved one life then it would be worth it. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that in my view that clause could cost a life. It could cost a life very easily if a young girl decided to go down the path of an illegal termination. I am sure that that would be as bad. Costing a life is not acceptable under any circumstances.

The other side of the coin- and I have touched on this already from my perspective of what choice is about - is information. Information is only any good if it is balanced. Information is of any use to make a choice, to make a decision or to empower only if it provides all arguments and access to counselling and to the sorts of services that may be

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