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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2533 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

More importantly, we need to stand up and make our position known to our electors so that they can make an informed choice when they vote. In this fifth election for the Assembly, I am keen to make sure that electors can make a decision based on the policies of candidates. Many would wish the issue were not debated; that it would simply go away. For too long, many have said it should not be debate, but I think they are wrong. It should be debated, and my tabling of these bills today is a positive and responsible way of ensuring that this happens.

I know that abortion is traditionally subject to a conscience vote. I am not attacking that, but electors should know what a candidate's conscience is on this. For me the decision is easy. It is not my conscience which should decide whether a woman has an abortion but a woman's conscience

As I said earlier, I have a long commitment to abortion law reform in this Assembly. As the territory's first health minister, I explored options for reform. In the Second Assembly I successfully repealed the archaic Termination of Pregnancy Act, which prevented abortions from being performed in the ACT and forced women to travel interstate.

In 1994 I moved to establish the territory's first clinic under the auspices of Reproductive Health Care Services. Also in 1994 I first drafted the bill to repeal the sections of the Crimes Act which make abortion a crime. I campaigned against the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act and its precursor, the draconian Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill 1998.

I have always been passionate about abortion law reform, and always will be. I want to offer electors a choice on this important issue and bring it to their notice before the election. I thank members for their forbearance.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement of less than a minute on this issue.

Leave granted.

MR MOORE: I am extraordinarily disappointed that I will not be here to support Mr Berry's bills. I wish you all the very best in getting them up in the next Assembly.

Adult Entertainment and Restricted Material Bill 2000

Debate resumed from 20 June 2001, on motion by Mr Rugendyke:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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