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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2972 ..

Mr Humphries: It is based on legal advice, Wayne. You are making a fool of yourself.

MR BERRY: Responding to the interjection, it was a remarkable piece of footwork. I would like the chief law officer to get up, spare us any further commentary on the parallels with clause 13 of the Bill, and tell us why it cannot be excluded. I appeal to the chief law officer to tell us why we cannot delete clause 3. Will you get on your feet and tell us that? Give us another version. Spare us the parallel with clause 13.

MR QUINLAN (11.23): I will speak again for just 30 seconds, Mr Speaker, to repeat what I observed earlier, that is, that this mini-debate that we have had again emphasises the fact that this legislation has become, through haste, through recobbling and through the desire to ram it through, a dog's breakfast.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.24): No, Mr Speaker, it is not a dog's breakfast at all. What clause 3 does is maintain the status quo; it is as simple as that. It maintains the status quo, which is the very thing that you are trying to achieve.

Mr Berry: That is different from the Crimes Act.

MR MOORE: No, it is not. I just said it in a more succinct way.

MR BERRY (11.25): This is just amazing. We have another version.

Mr Humphries: It is the same thing.

MR BERRY: No, you did not say anything about the status quo. What you said was that it was a belt and braces approach and that it provided for protection particularly for Catholic organisations who did not want to provide abortion services. That is what you said. Then it was drawn to your attention that clause 13 actually did that. You were very quick on your feet, saying, "No, this is belt and braces". Then Mr Moore gets to his feet and says, "No, no, no, this is status quo".

Mr Humphries: They are both the same thing, Wayne. If you cannot figure that out, you are up too late.

Mr Moore: It is all right. I will try to say it slower for you next time.

MR BERRY: Insults do not assist the cause much. Does status quo mean that this is needed to protect the Catholic institutions? I think they are protected by clause 13; so it would seemingly render this unnecessary. Or does status quo enshrine the effect of the Levine and Menhennitt rulings, which Mr Humphries says it is thought have application so far as the common law in the ACT is concerned? It strikes me that there is a little bit of confusion about this, that this has been put in there for some ideological reason rather than for any practical one. If it is superfluous to the Bill, why is it there? Why can it not be excluded? Will somebody tell me how it would undermine the legislation if it were taken out? Can somebody who knows about these things tell me that? Can a lawyer tell me that?

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