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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2939 ..

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (9.08): Mr Speaker, of course, Mr Berry has the right of reply, which he is entitled to. I rise to explain why I will not be supporting this motion to send the matter to a committee. It has nothing to do with the fact that the committee is constructed without any Executive members on it at all. That has no effect on my supporting or not supporting it, because I would have been happy to move an amendment to it. Mr Berry is quite accurate when he quoted what I said on the radio this morning about being prepared to delay the Bill. Indeed, I attempted to delay the Bill earlier today and supported his attempt to do so. Things have changed, Mr Speaker, in a number of ways. First of all, they have changed because the Bill has been passed in principle. That is the first and most important one. Secondly, Mr Speaker, each member - - -

Members interjected.

MR MOORE: And I voted against the Bill in principle. Mr Speaker, in relation to the interjections here, let me say that I have not done any interjecting and I am not intending to this evening.

MR SPEAKER: Things may have changed, but they have not changed so far as my attitude to interjections is concerned, I would remind all members.

MR MOORE: These issues are particularly difficult. When I heard Mr Hargreaves speak, although I disagreed with his approach, I understood the difficulty of the decisions he was making. Mr Speaker, I have made a judgment - and each of us can only work on our judgments - about how I can act in the best possible interests of women. Mr Speaker, in political terms, we had an Assembly that was arrayed against those of us who believe in choice. We have managed to get to a point where I think I can deliver the least worst option for women. I believe that, if this process goes on through a committee and is extended, things can only get worse. I cannot see any way in which they could get better for women. It is on that basis that I make this decision, Mr Speaker. Politics is not just about arguments for and against, and it is not just about compromise; it is also, critically, about timing.

Mr Berry: It is night-time now. It was daytime this morning.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I hear Mr Berry. I know that Mr Berry has made his judgment. Mr Berry has made a series of political judgments since he has been in this Assembly, and I have noted those judgments. One thing that, I guess, reinforces my view more than anything else is that I am making a different judgment from Mr Berry. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that we have an opportunity now, and I do not think we will have as good an opportunity again under these circumstances. It is a difficult judgment to make, but what we are elected to do is to make a judgment the way we see it.

There would have been nothing easier for me than to have remained pure, not to have put any amendments, to have stood back and said, "I am just going to vote against this and watch it go down by 10 to seven. I did everything I possibly could do". That may suit some people. I had a discussion with Ms Tucker on Friday night - I hope she does not mind my repeating it - in which she put the view that that was the correct thing to do. My judgment was that it was not the correct thing to do. We differ in that.

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