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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2839 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

that these issues are not ones that we should regard ourselves. All issues that come to this place are issues that we regard ourselves, and all members have the right to bring issues of concern to them or the community here for debate.

Mr Speaker, the comment has been made today that if you have a pro-life view you are patronising, paternalistic, perhaps even bigoted, religious, Catholic, anti-woman, anti-choice or even cruel. It is said that women have this information. If so, where is the harm in the addition of pictures? It is said that we hold women in contempt. What does it say of the opinion of women of those who say that women cannot handle this issue?

Mr Berry, true to form, uses this matter as another opportunity just to have a shot at the Chief Minister. Mr Berry speaks about women not being the chattels of a nineteenth century world; yet, when Mrs Carnell exercises her right to make a decision that happens to conflict with Mr Berry's, she is somehow some sort of turncoat or she is not allowed to make that decision. Mrs Carnell is a fine example of what all young women could aspire to. She is a woman who has made it in the business world and made it in the professional world and she is now doing very well in the political sphere. She is a fine example of the fact that women can make their own decisions. But when she exercises her right to make a decision, Mr Berry simply says that she is wrong. How is that for being paternalistic and patronising?

Mr Speaker, it is said that we are being patronising on this issue. It is not we who are acting condescendingly to women in this issue; it is those who would deny women access to information, claiming that women cannot handle it or do not need further information. That is being patronising. It is said that we are being paternalistic. In fact, it is those who are against providing further information who are being paternalistic. They are being censors, in effect, because they are deciding what information women can and cannot handle. That is being paternalistic.

Mr Speaker, words were spoken about religion and I think Catholicism was mentioned, perhaps even that we were bigoted. A bigot is one who is unreasonably prejudiced and intolerant. Why are they so intolerant of providing the additional information? Perhaps it is they who are the bigots. Yes, I hold a religious view.

At 5.00 p.m. the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 34; the motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

Mr Corbell: I rise to a point of order. Mr Speaker, I do not want to labour the point, but Mr Smyth suggested that members who were supporting this motion were bigots. I think that is quite unparliamentary and you should ask him to withdraw the use of that word. It is quite inappropriate in the context of this debate.

MR SPEAKER: I suggest that the word be withdrawn. It could apply to either side.


: I am happy to withdraw it. The definition is simply unreasonably prejudiced or intolerant. Mr Speaker, comment was made about people having religious views. (Extension of time granted) I do hold a religious view, but I am not confined to

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