Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2983 ..
MR BERRY (12.05 am): Mr Speaker, this point sends an important signal to me. This tells us all the reasons why we do not need this legislation. It is covered in other places. This legislation is really superfluous. This brings me to a point that I was just reminded of. What about legislators who are not qualified? It strikes me that we do not have the qualifications to properly assess this legislation, as is demonstrated by the point that we do not need this provision, because it is covered elsewhere. That is the very point that we have been making all along about this legislation and the amendments.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.06 am): Mr Speaker, the last part of Mr Berry's argument is the silliest one he has ever put up. You do have a qualification. Mr Berry, you have the best qualification of all. You were elected by the people of Canberra to consider legislation and to put it through. That is the qualification that we all have. That argument would apply to every single piece of legislation that we deal with. Having listened to Mr Humphries, I will not be worried greatly if I lose this amendment. Clearly the numbers are against me.
The reason for my amendment was just to keep the penalty consistent with the penalty in other health legislation and to allow the other forms of legislation to carry it, but I am quite happy. Members will note that the next amendment we deal with is almost identical but I will argue much more strongly for a different position from that sought by Mr Humphries. In this case none of us would like to see an unqualified backyard abortionist carrying out an abortion. I can easily see the sense of the argument.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (12.07 am): Mr Speaker, I would support the original five years too. I think it is important to have a deterrent. I think Mr Humphries, Mr Smyth, Mr Osborne and Mr Quinlan are quite right in that regard.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.08 am): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move amendment No. 8 circulated in my name.
MR MOORE: I move:
Page 3, line 31, subclause (2), omit "Imprisonment for 5 years", substitute "50 penalty units".
Mr Speaker, on the face of it, this amendment looks to be exactly the same as the previous one, but in this case we are talking about a provision that says, "A person shall not perform an abortion except in an approved facility". I want members to picture a terrible Health Minister - not a wonderful one like me, or Mr Berry had he been Minister for Health - who would not approve a facility. Of course such a decision would be subject to the Assembly's review, but let us just picture that situation. If a medical doctor performs an abortion other than in the approved facility, perhaps in a private hospital somewhere in appropriate conditions, he could wind up with a five-year gaol term.