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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2940 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I do not think we differ in our intention to attempt to protect women in the best possible way. I think the approach taken by Mr Berry here is a head-in-the-sand approach. If he wishes to bury his head in the sand, he is entitled to do that; but it is a matter of judgment. Mr Speaker, it is on the basis of that judgment about what I think is the best way I can deliver that I will be opposing this motion.

MS TUCKER (9.13): I will be supporting the motion to send this controversial issue to a select committee. I think it is a very sensible motion. I have already spoken on the reasons why I believe we do need to have more time to consider the implications of what we have been presented with in this place. There are still outstanding questions and concerns that I have not heard anybody address. I will not repeat all of them, but I will note particularly the concerns about the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act, the ACT Discrimination Act and comments by the DPP. Even about Mr Moore's amendments, there appear to be concerns. The unclear intention of the reference to the Crimes Act is still an issue. The issue that was highlighted by the DPP was that, when you make actions criminal offences, it is very important that it is made quite clear exactly what the offence is. If that is not clear, it is very difficult - in this case, for the patient, the doctors and the courts.

Of course, now we also have Mr Humphries' amendments to consider. In the last hour, a whole new concept has been introduced to this place, which is the "dependent minor" definition. I have not heard that definition before. I have read it in Mr Humphries' amendment and I see what he is saying. I would like time to understand the implications of that for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Gillick interpretation and all those other legal issues.

Mr Humphries: It is from Western Australia, Kerrie. It is Western Australian legislation.

MS TUCKER: Mr Humphries can interject across the table to explain it to me; but I do not think that is a good process, Mr Humphries. I would actually like time to talk to other people and get advice on the particular issues. Mr Kaine apparently felt that my questions were inappropriate, when I was asking people to respond and explain their position on the various issues that I raised and on which I personally had not had time to get full advice. That is what I like to do before I make a decision on something as important as this.

I think it is entirely appropriate, in the very hasty and inappropriate process we are seeing today, for Mr Kaine and every other member of this place who is supporting this process to explain very clearly their understanding of these concerns, because it appears to be the only opportunity we will get to actually hear what these members think are the issues and how they can feel comfortable with them. I think they have an absolute responsibility to come up with that information. I have not heard any speeches full of information. I have heard very light, disappointing speeches from everyone in this place who is supporting this Bill. I have not heard anything of any great depth, and certainly nothing that would satisfy me.

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