Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2968 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
We also had the point that Mr Stanhope raised about protecting the privacy of women having an abortion. He referred to the Discrimination Commissioner's concerns. This amendment addresses those concerns; that is what it is about. The Discrimination Commissioner said, "I am concerned about protecting the privacy of women having abortions", so we have put an amendment that the object of the Act is to protect the privacy of women. The very reason that it is there is to deal with that sort of concern. It was not a concern just of the Discrimination Commissioner. I expressed that concern in a press release as soon as this legislation was put down. One of the first things I said was that it attacks women's privacy.
Mr Speaker, I want to emphasise that I would prefer to have no piece of legislation in front of me. I would prefer to have no amendments at all. But it was clear - and we have seen it now that this legislation has been passed by the house - that, if I had taken the same attitude as the Labor Party, what would have happened is that the original legislation would have been pushed through, because that is where the numbers are. That is where the numbers are.
Mr Corbell: Rubbish!
MR MOORE: It is your opinion that that is rubbish and it is my opinion that it is not. That is why it is that this very sensible amendment is being put. It is there, as Ms Tucker says, to put the framework around the legislation to limit what it can do. Do not remove the limits. I understand what Mr Quinlan is trying to do and I genuinely believe that it is a genuine amendment. I do not for one minute think that it is being done as a filibuster. If he wanted to filibuster, he would have talked for much longer. But we must make sure that we limit the framework of this legislation. That is what I am trying to do.
Amendment (Mr Quinlan's) negatived.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
MR CORBELL (11.08): Mr Speaker, this clause and other references to the Crimes Act in this piece of legislation are the elements of this Bill with which I have the most concern. I am entitled to have that concern, Mr Speaker. I am entitled to have it because I fear - and the discussions that I have had with a range of people involved in Reproductive Healthcare Services have highlighted this to me - that references to the Crimes Act in this Bill will have every potential to invite a testing of this law in the courts.
Mr Humphries: Nonsense! Absolute nonsense!
MR CORBELL: Mr Humphries, you can respond when you have an opportunity later in the debate. Mr Speaker, I have a concern that this invites prosecutions to test the law and it brings into doubt the provision of legal terminations in the Territory. I think it is wrong to try to regulate this activity, terminations, on top of a framework which provides for abortions to be illegal. That is what we are doing here. That is most vividly demonstrated in clause 3. What happens if someone says, "This clause basically means that abortion is still illegal in the Territory and I am going to test that in the courts."?