Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2961 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
(b) ensure that a decision by a woman to proceed or not to proceed with an abortion is carefully considered;
(c) ensure that abortions are only performed by appropriately qualified persons and in suitable premises;
(d) provide statistical reports to government on the occurrences of abortions in the Territory;
(e) protect the privacy of women having abortions; and
(f) provide for the right of persons and bodies to refuse to participate in abortions.".
Mr Speaker, I present an explanatory memorandum for all the amendments in my name. It would have been circulated to members earlier.
This amendment inserts an objects clause. It will help to display the principles implicit in the success of the vote in principle. It will help with interpretation. In particular, it will help prevent this legislation being construed in a draconian manner. As far as I am concerned, Mr Speaker, that is the most important part. The amendment sets out the objects as follows: To ensure that adequate and balanced medical advice and information are given to a woman who is considering an abortion - I emphasise the words "adequate and balanced medical advice"; to ensure that a decision made by a woman to proceed or not to proceed with an abortion is carefully considered; to ensure that abortions are only performed by appropriately qualified persons and in suitable premises; to provide statistical reports to government on the occurrences of abortions in the Territory; to protect the privacy of women having abortions - the object of the Act is to protect the privacy of women having abortions; and, finally, to provide for the right of persons and bodies to refuse to participate in abortions, so that if somebody - a doctor, a nurse or whatever - is involved and a request is made that they participate, that ensures that they have the right not to participate, that they are entitled to their choice as well.
Mr Speaker, these are very sensible amendments that, most of all, set out how far the Bill can go. In other words, the Bill just cannot go any further than is set out in these amendments. Remember, Mr Speaker and members, that what we are looking for here, as far as I am concerned, is the least worst solution. We have got to this stage. It is now time to consider whether that is going to be the case. Mr Speaker, I believe that these objects adequately set out those issues.
MR QUINLAN (10.41): Mr Speaker, I would suggest that this amendment be amended by striking out paragraph (b), the second objective, because I believe that it does nothing to the legislation other than to add to the patronising impact of it overall. I so move it.
MR SPEAKER: The amendment will have to be in writing, Mr Quinlan.