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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2825 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

Indeed, I would suggest to you that by compelling the medical profession - all this regulation is doing is compelling the medical profession, not the woman - it is possible - - -

Ms Tucker: To ensure. She cannot have the abortion if they have not ensured it; that is the whole point.

MR CORNWELL: Yes, but you are drawing a very long bow on that.

Ms Tucker: No, I am not.

MR CORNWELL: The woman does not have to read the brochure.

Ms Tucker: The doctor has to ensure that she has seen it, so if the doctor has not ensured it - - -

Mr Stanhope: I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. They are debating the point across the chamber.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

MR CORNWELL: That we are having a debate across the chamber, I think.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did not think I should have to point it out to you, Mr Cornwell.

MR CORNWELL: Mr Deputy Speaker, I have seen the Tuggeranong master plan, but I have not read it. As I say, I believe that the current legislation is an adequate compromise and I believe that it is satisfactory for the majority of Canberrans. I think that has been fairly clearly demonstrated by their overwhelming silence since November. I am talking about the majority. I am not talking about small numbers of people who hold very strong views on this matter. I believe that this proposal only creates a compulsion on the part of a medical professional, not the women concerned.

Nevertheless, I would state for the record, and for the Assembly, that those who may wish to change the existing legislation should do so by the substantive action of a referendum, not by a decision of 17 people in this house. I will not support in this house any subsequent motions or legislation on this contentious issue from either side.

MR QUINLAN (4.11): I will be very brief, Mr Deputy Speaker. Earlier today, Mr Stanhope clearly debunked any claim that this Assembly legislated to force women contemplating abortion to view graphic pictures of foetuses in a government publication. The debate has swung on the word "may". I think enough has been said about that. I compliment Ms Tucker on her rounding out of that question. Let it be very clear today that every member of this Assembly knows that the provision in the original abortion Bill was intended to be a deterrent to abortion, not for the provision of information. That is the guise, but the totality of the original Bill was constructed to inhibit access to abortion, not to inform people.

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