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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2944 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

debate, by sitting around a table and receiving submissions from a variety of community groups, the views of people in this chamber about this legislation are going to change? Not one person. You know it, and you know it, and you all know it. Not one person is going to change their view - - -

Mr Hargreaves: Well, I don't know it, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay, maybe Mr Hargreaves. Mr Speaker, with the possible exception of Mr Hargreaves, not one other person in this place is going to change their view about abortion. You know it and I know it, and everybody out there knows it as well. You will listen to the people that you want to listen to who are opposed to the Bill. People on this side of the chamber - not that there are many of them on the committee, according to Mr Berry - will hear the people that they want to hear. At the end of the day, people will come back to the Assembly in precisely the same position as they left it, after the motion tonight. So, Mr Speaker, it is a waste of time to consider this. Mr Berry put his finger on it quite succinctly when he said, "I am equally in favour of opposition and delay". That is what this motion is. It is opposition through delay. I do not propose to support that.

Finally, you want to hear from people like the Director of Public Prosecutions about these very important views that he has put before the Assembly on these questions to do with the problems with the Bill. It was not very long ago that the Director of Public Prosecutions was telling the Assembly that it needed to pass legislation to put prevalence of offences into the Crimes Act. Where was the Assembly when he was making those sorts of calls? It was turning a deaf ear to those calls. Members on that side of the chamber ignored that call. So do not tell me now that you think that the Director of Public Prosecutions is all that important in a debate like this. As far as you are concerned, it is not who is saying it, it is what they are saying.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (9.34): Mr Speaker, I support the establishment of this committee. I indicated earlier today that I felt that any suggestion that we proceed with this debate and this Bill today was simply untenable in terms of process and in terms of dealing with this serious issue in a serious way. The debate today has simply reinforced my view that we, as an Assembly, as a group of 17 people, are not fit, in terms of the information available to us and our collective understanding of the issues we are dealing with, to deal with this issue tonight. It is simply untenable that, before the end of tonight, we will have concluded our consideration of this mishmash of legislation.

I am very concerned at the attitude that Mr Moore has adopted to this as well. I really am personally offended that Mr Moore should suggest that, because I do not necessarily think that he has done the right, the strategic and the politic thing in acting as he has in bringing forward his amendments, his legislative packet, in the way that he has, I was not acting in the best interests of furthering this debate. I simply disagree with Mr Moore about that. I am one of those who have opposed changes to the status quo.

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