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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3427 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

section 16, I remind members, is the regulation-making power of the Act -

it could be argued that this instrument contains matter which should properly be dealt with in an Act.

It went on to say that if the subject matter were in the Act there would, of course, on this ground, be no basis for comment because it would be included in the Act. It also goes on to say that whether these regulations should appear in the Act or not was a matter of opinion.

I do not shy away from my original position that this Act was completely unnecessary, unwarranted and shameful, but it is clear that there are reservations about whether Ministers should extend the scope of legislation merely because it suits their moral views to do so. It also draws into question how members ought to vote. Do they want to extend the legislation, or would they rather see it done in a way that there is no question about the issue at all? Why then did the proponents of these regulations or other people not put forward an amendment to the Act to properly put that question to rest so that this legislature would make a very firm decision one way or another about whether women should have pictures thrust in their face? Incidentally, they are not pictures of their own foetus but pictures of somebody else's. That confirms the stupidity of the moves of these two Ministers.

I regard it as a sad and sorry chapter in the history of self-government that we would seek to impose this information on women. I have always expressed the view that the issue of abortion is a sensitive one and the fewer terminations that occur the better. But that does not remove me one iota from the view that it is a matter between women and their doctors how and when terminations should occur. It is not for politicians to interfere. This is the grossest form of interference in the role that medical practitioners play in delivering women's health and in the decision-making rights of women in the Australian Capital Territory.

This matter will not be put to rest until legislation is passed to decriminalise abortion in the ACT and until this decision is left with women and their medical practitioners. This is an infringement of very important principles and should not be supported by members in this place. If they really had the courage of their convictions on this matter and they thought they had made a mistake with the original legislation, you would think they would have been game to come back with an amendment rather than try to extend the scope of the law by doing a bit of law-making themselves outside of this Assembly.

What would the numbers have been? I do not know. Why were they fearful of that course? I do not know. It strikes me that the two Ministers would rather make a regulation and not have to face the music of putting up a piece of legislation which in some way dealt with the issue. Do they not have the right in the Liberal Cabinet to put up private members business as Mr Moore does? I do not know the answer to that. Whatever the answer is, to me this looks as though they have extended the scope of the legislation which was set up in the first place. They should have come back, if they were so serious about it, and amended the legislation. Overriding all of this is the very clear

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