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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2781 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

The information in this case needs to be approved, in its presentation and format and accompanying information, by a panel of five or perhaps more specialists.

Seven as it turns out. He continued:

I feel confident that that process is going to lead to a document which is balanced, reasonable and medically accurate, and designed to do what this whole Bill is about doing, which is providing accurate information to a woman about the total picture confronting her as she considers an abortion.

That is not good enough, Mr Humphries, so you want to provide them with inaccurate information. That is what you want to do. You want to adopt the practices more at home in North America where fringe dwellers blow up abortion clinics and kill abortion workers. That is where these ideas come from, Mr Humphries. This is one of the strongest samples of hypocrisy that I have seen for some time in this place. You and Mrs Carnell stand up in this place and boast about the balanced information that is going to come from this expert panel, yet you come forward with a piece of legislation, disallowable legislation, which seeks to override that balanced view described by not just a majority of these experts but all of them, every one of them. (Extension of time granted) You are trying to impinge upon the medical ethics of people who are involved in this procedure.

It is not as if these people were appointed to this panel because of their particular views on abortion. They were not appointed for those reasons. In fact, the legislation requires that they be selected because there is a possibility that they might have different views on abortion, entirely different views, but at the end of the day their professional ethics drove them to a decision which would have excluded forcing women to receive this information. Mr Speaker, this episode in the Assembly's history is one that will be remembered.

I understand, Mr Speaker, that there is a chance of some legal action. I wonder whether there was a financial impact statement made before this regulation was put by this economically rational government that wants a financial impact statement on everything. I wonder whether a financial impact statement was prepared on the effect of moving this law. How much will it cost the Territory to defend the action in relation to the matter? I do not know what it will cost the people who want to take this to the courts. I assume they have good reasons to consider that they might succeed. I will announce now that I am happy to participate in fundraising to assist them in the case. That may in turn cause a financial impact on the Territory. I wonder whether that was considered at all. Anybody who is interested can name me as a point of contact for fundraising on the issue because this is so horrible that every avenue has to be exhausted to stop this ratbaggery. That is all it can be described as.

You have to wonder why it is that people will do this. Are they doing it for the good of the women involved? Don't they think that women are capable of making their own decisions about this? Don't they think that women are intelligent enough to determine

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