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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2842 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

I am not going to comment on what Mr Smyth said, other than to say that it really is a matter for a woman to decide. It really is a matter upon which she should decide on the basis of the evidence that she wants, not that which is imposed upon her, as this legislation sets out to do.

Mr Osborne read into Hansard selected passages from High Court decisions. I think he has either misunderstood the High Court's position or misquoted it. The High Court was talking about the relationship between doctors and patients, not legislators and the law. That is the difference. The High Court was making a very clear point about what doctors ought to be providing for their patients. What this legislature decided to do was to put in place an independent panel which would provide information for doctors to give to their patients, not ruling out any further obligation that the doctors might have in relation to the provision of information in accordance with their code of ethics. I think it was a mischievous way of misrepresenting what the High Court actually said in relation to this matter. It was dealing with the doctor-patient relationship, not the relationship between legislators and the law. What we are dealing with here is the relationship between legislators and the law and the effects on the patients of doctors. It has to be understood that the position, quite clearly, is different.

Mr Humphries, as did Mrs Carnell and Mr Smyth, talked about how it was so important to provide extra information. Why, then, was it so important for them to sing the praises of this independent panel to give this information and then seek to override it? The reason that they are arguing so stridently now to change the opinion of the panel is that it did not come up to their expectations because the experts do not agree with them, and neither does most of the community.

Mr Speaker, I turn to your contribution to the debate. I must say that when you mentioned a referendum I thought that we would win easily and we should have one, but then I fell back on my own principles. I did not come here to trigger referendums to make decisions for me. I was elected by the people and I am paid by the people to do a job. I am attracted to the idea because I know that I would win, but it would undermine a principle that I have held for a long time. Although I am attracted to the idea, I think I would err on the side of doing my job and calling on all of the other members of this place to do theirs as well. Mr Speaker, I would urge you not to give away your right to vote on these matters because I think that it is a responsibility that we all have to exercise.

Yesterday we were having a debate about other legislation and Mr Humphries was going on like a cracked record about the necessity for consultation and how a year and three months on one particular piece of legislation was not enough. I know that he has not had any consultation with me or given me the opportunity to talk about this information. He never sent me a copy of his proposal and said, "How do you like this, Wayne?".

Mr Hargreaves: Did he visit?


: He did not visit, either. I would have given him a cup of tea. Of course, his actions in this respect fly in the face of his preaching on the matter yesterday. Mr Humphries also talked at length about how this brochure was information. It is not

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