Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2559 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

The aspect to be addressed next is the issue itself. Let it be enough now for me to say that I have heard enough sad tales from all quarters-tales of grief, of ignorance, of deprivation, of desperation, of shame-to persuade me to support the legalisation of abortion.

That then leaves only the matter of when the procedure may be performed. After consultation with many medical practitioners over the past months, I became aware of the practice of late-term abortions by a certain doctor in Queensland. I have concerns in that area. However, I am also aware that any abortion performed in the ACT after the first trimester must be first considered and approved by a hospital ethics committee. At this time, I am comfortable with that process, because requests to that ethics committee are not always granted. Should that process prove to be unworkable at some future date, then I am prepared to revisit the issue at that time.

I also give notice that I will be supporting Mr Berry's second bill to repeal the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act, and Ms Gallagher's bill.

This is my first conscience vote as a politician and hopefully my last one. A conscience decision is, by nature, a difficult one to make at the best of times. After today, some of the community will be happy with the Assembly's decision and some will not. Some of those in the latter group will be in my own party. I am aware that I am the only Liberal member voting for Mr Berry's bills today and, to be honest, this makes me more than a little nervous.

However, my vote reflects my convictions, and I stand by them. I have made my decision on this suite of legislation before us painstakingly and with a genuine belief that I have had a true conscience vote. I guess only time will tell.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The gallery will behave itself, please.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (4.30): My position on abortion has been clear for a very long time. I oppose abortion except in very limited circumstances. I believe in the sanctity of human life. I do not believe there is any such thing, in 21st century Australia at least, as an unwanted child.

My opposition has been clear for some 18 years, since I first stood as a candidate for public office in this territory. My views about abortion have been published regularly before each election in which I have participated, and I think the value of the clarity of my position and the consistency of my approach has been that my support in the electorate has increased as the years have gone by.

As a result, my position on the four bills before the Assembly today might be fairly easy to guess. But as in previous debates, I do not come to this place today to put arguments based on my particular political philosophy, my particular personal philosophy or my religious convictions. I come to put them on the basis of logic and commonsense and on the basis of arguments about the effectiveness of the law of the territory and the way in which the law of the territory may be adversely affected by changing the law in the way proposed by Mr Berry's bill.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .