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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3001 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I take the point from my colleagues on this side of the house that there is a danger that the presentation of the material can be patronising to women. There is a danger that it can be represented to reflect one side of the argument. I am not satisfied that the construction of the panel, as set out in the current piece of legislation, will be able, effectively, to prevent that. Later on, when we come to the amendments that I propose, I will seek to have a significant number of women on that panel. This is one of the reasons why I intend to propose that.

This issue has come up a little earlier than I thought it might. These women will be insisting that there is not one patronising thing in the material that is in there. They will be ensuring that it is not only medically accurate, but that it is also presented in a sensitive way which will enable people to make their decisions in an informed way and free of pressure from one side of the argument or the other, I would hope. That is why I will be proposing that we have a nurse on there skilled in hospital work and one skilled with community work, because the community work people often are the first point of referral for the girl who is 161/2 and homeless, and they are not going to allow one side of the argument to be presented to this kid.

Mr Speaker, I do not see what is so wrong with having this stuff available in the package so long as that information assists in the completeness of the information that people get, so long as the word "may" is in the legislation, and so long as the information is vetted by a significant number of women who have the power of veto in that advisory panel.

MR BERRY (1.16 am): A short time ago Mr Moore was responding to some comments that Mr Stanhope made and he had a little bit of a slice and talked about how he had read on, but it appears from the document that he did not read on far enough. I will read from Mr Refshauge's advice, and I will read it all:

The problem, under this construction, arises later, however, as new clause 15 does not require that the relevant bodies actually produce or approve any materials containing the relevant information; the clause is merely permissive or facilitative. Thus, there may not, at any particular time, be such information.

Then he goes on:

It is arguable that new subclause 6(a) would still be satisfied if no information is given where there is no such information because none had been approved. The matter is, however, not free from doubt and it may be that if no such information had been approved (and then, what if only one - new subclause 15(3), but not (4) or (5)?) then subclause 6(a) could not be fulfilled and so no abortions could be carried out.

If I am wrong and it is intended (and a court agrees) that the new clause 6(a) refers to subclause 7(1)(a) and (b) as well, then I still have serious concerns.

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