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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2782 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

when they want to see more information about the matter? Apparently not. Don't they worry about the effects of imposing this on women, contrary to the credible specialist advice? Don't they even worry about that?

Would you be comfortable with prescribing regulations which dictate certain procedures in relation to medical procedures in our hospitals, such as what information might be provided, for example, for people with a mental illness before they receive treatment? Would you be comfortable doing that? Would you be comfortable with saying, "You shall prescribe certain drugs", or, "You shall give people certain information."?

Ethically, the medical professions all have the obligation to fully inform their patients. Would you see us as a group of experts to override these medically qualified people? I do not. I do not know of anybody here who might want to turn their hand to brain surgery or something like that. Who would feel qualified? None of you. This is an absolutely horrible act to try to impose upon women.

Mr Speaker, I will not rest. If this legislation gets through I will not rest until it is overridden at some stage. I do not intend to rest. I do not intend to rest, Mr Speaker, until I see the crime of abortion wiped from the statute books. If you people over there have a personal view about what abortion is, keep it to yourselves. Most of you will never have to face it. Only two people in this chamber will ever have had to consider such an issue. The rest of you will not, unless you want to impose your views on somebody else. That is why this particular move is so crook, because it is about you people imposing your views on women and not accepting that they have the intelligence to make up their own minds about this. You are treating them like they were treated in the nineteenth century, as chattels, as goods owned by men. If you are comfortable with that, support this move by Gary Humphries, Kate Carnell and Brendan Smyth. Support it if you are comfortable with that position. I am not comfortable with it and I will not be supporting it.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.40): Mr Speaker, I will start by saying that I think it is very important for every member of this Assembly to respect others' views on this because I am sure that every member of the Assembly has spent many hours over the years looking at this issue from a moral, personal and in some cases religious point of view, and certainly from the perspective of the rights of the people involved. It always concerns me that Mr Berry does not take that line. He used a very large percentage of his speech to attack other people's views on what is a very important issue. I have no intention of doing that because it is simply unacceptable in an area that I know all members take very seriously.

Mr Speaker, my position on this is as it has always been, and that is that full information, correct information, can never be a bad thing. Mr Berry said, "Would any of you support a situation where full information on, say, the treatment of somebody with a mental illness was given to them before treatment?". I put up my hand. Yes. In fact, throughout my professional career I have supported full information, both the good information and also the information that may cause some concern.

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