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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2826 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

We have indulged in quite a lot of nonsense in this debate in the claims that there really was an intention to inform. Support for these pictures is support for the intent of the original abortion Bill. No member of this Assembly can honestly - I repeat, honestly - claim to be pro-choice and not support this disallowance motion. Not supporting this motion is either borne of a no-choice philosophy or borne of political expedience.

MR KAINE (4.13): I must say that the debates in this place sometimes range far and wide and very often go a long way from the point of the matter which is the subject of the debate. I do not want to prolong the issue too much, but a couple of the things that have been said need to be refuted. I think that Ms Tucker made the best point when she emphasised - I repeat, emphasised - that this ought to be about full and informed decisions. Those were Ms Tucker's words.

I think that people ought always be able to make full and informed decisions, but on this occasion we have the unusual argument that some information ought to be suppressed. What is the logic behind it that says that we should have full disclosure, full information and full and informed decisions on every issue except this one and that in this case certain information that perhaps does not suit the case of one side of the argument should be suppressed? I am afraid, Ms Tucker, that I will not accept that as being a logical argument on this or any other issue.

Ms Tucker went on to say that politicians should keep out of health issues. That is a pretty broad general statement. Is Ms Tucker suggesting that we should keep out of questions of a health nature about the effects of cannabis, tobacco, alcohol and heroin on public health? Should we keep out of issues such as HIV and AIDS in this community? Should we keep out of such things as reportable diseases other than HIV and AIDS, such as tuberculosis, venereal disease and the like? That is an absurd proposition.

Ms Tucker: I did not say that.

MR KAINE: You did. I suggest, Ms Tucker, that you go and re-read the Hansard tomorrow because that is what you said. I do not accept the argument that, as an elected member of this place, I should not participate in debate and be part of the decision-making process. That is what I was elected for. Even our venerable Speaker suggested that a vote of nine members of this place should not be decisive. We vote in this place on issues every day of the week, some of them very significant issues, and they are decided very often on the basis of nine votes to eight. Why is this issue any different, Ms Tucker? If I can sit here as a mere male and vote on a whole range of significant issues that affect this community and affect the vote, whether it passes or not on the basis of a nine-eight vote, why can I not do it on this issue? It is because I am a mere male. I do not accept the proposition that males ought to exclude themselves from this debate.

I make the point that we are not talking here about the question of abortion. We are not arguing whether women should have access to abortion facilities. That is embedded in the law already and this debate, and the outcome of this motion, will not affect that in

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